3 articles on this site:
Various somewhat haphazardly organised links not on this site:
The Hamas authorities in the Gaza Strip began a campaign to expropriate
state-owned lands near the Rafah border crossing, as part of a project
to expand the crossing, leaving many citizens homeless and jobless.
Now in English: A report of a 1978 visit by Matzpen member to the only
Armenian village in Israel, on the highway between Tal Aviv and Haifa,
thirty years after its arable land had been expropriated (the pretext:
it belonged to an Arab landlord who fled) and three years before it was
finally demolished. The fact that the poor peasants were survivors of
the Armenian genocide during World War I did not save them from the
racist “land policy” of the zionist movement and the state of Israel.
About the Arab section of the Kibbutz youth movement:
War Profits, Peace Dividends:
On Israeli propaganda efforts:
Akiva Or’s book from 1961:
TR (originally from Israel) writes on BDS (Boycott, Disinvest, Sanction – Israel):
” The whole idea that “the occupation” is solely a national and separated affair and that only the official state of Israel is responsible for what’s going on is not in line with reality to say the least. It’s not like Israel is a school-bully that everyone can boycott and stop talking to so that he will have to stop his behavior. Just like the state of Israel was not REALLY born “by itself”, by the will of the abstract “Jews” or even the Jewish bourgeoisie to allegedly build a national home for “their people”, but out of the mutual necessities of the different sections of the international ruling class – including the Arab ones – and most importantly by the ongoing dependency and subordination to the United States, you can’t honestly accept the idea that the ongoing occupation or anything that has to do with it (since the official occupation of the West Bank and Gaza is only one aspect of a reality of mutually-dependent characteristics that make everyday life in Israel what they are: ethnic conflict, war-industry, hi-tech industry/laboratory, unquestionable militarism, political corruption, almost zero history of conscious class-struggle etc.) can be reduced to an Israel-Palestine affair, to colonists vs. colonized.
the whole idea that “the occupation” is solely a national and separated affair and that only the official state of Israel is responsible to what’s going on is not in line with reality to say the least. It’s not like Israel is a school-bully that everyone can boycott and stop talking to so that he will have to stop his behavior. Just like the state of Israel was not REALLY born “by itself”, by the will of the abstract “Jews” or even the Jewish bourgeoisie to allegedly build a national home for “their people”, but out the mutual necessities of the different sections of the international ruling class – including the Arab ones – and most importantly by the ongoing dependency and subordination to the United States, you can’t honestly accept that idea that the ongoing occupation or anything that has to do with it (since the official occupation of the West Bank and Gaza is only one aspect of a reality of mutually-dependent characteristics that make everyday life in Israel what they are: ethnic conflict, war-industry, hi-tech industry/laboratory, unquestionable militarism, political corruption, almost zero history of conscious class-struggle etc.) can be reduced to an Israel-Palestine affair, to colonists vs. colonized.
And this is even without going into how this approach strengthens nationalism (and by consequence strengthens Zionism, which depends on nationalistic myth and antisemitism for its existence, the same Zionism that the BDS supposedly fights against), makes all the Jewish citizens of Israel accomplices by default in something they never even had a chance to decide about and of which the vast majority of them are victims as well: not only victims of the ongoing war and semi-war (okay, of course the common BDS person will say to this “how can you compare a few missiles on the south of Israel to living in Gaza?!” or “there are this-times-more Palestinians dying weekly/monthly/whatever from the “normal” routine of occupation than the death of Jews in the entire history of Palestinian counter-terror…), but also by all the other effects of living in this kind of contradictory, chauvinistic, xenophobic, militarist and capitalist society (false machoism, pent-up rage, domestic violence, unemployment and competition against illegal Palestinian and migrant workers for jobs in certain manual-labor sectors, and more…). Just notice how some Palestinian intellectuals responded to the recent Ethiopian riots, something along the lines of: “this is an internal affair of the colonists, they are all equal in their privileges as occupiers, until they fly the Palestinian flag we don’t give a shit about them”, blah blah blah.
More by Tal on BDS:
The above 2016 article from Lundi Matin has some interesting points,
although I find him gravely mistaken in other points. Namely: the
necessity of debating what is morally “legitimate” or not; finding value
in talking to “progressive” people in which he probably includes
himself; his obsession with official regional definitions of borders
(political and arbitrary when it comes to actual cultural or ethnic
origin of the populations) and thus his support for the broadly accepted
yet false presentation of the Palestinians of the Occupied Territories
and the Palestinian citizens of Israel as two separate entities – which
is only technically and legally true (of course, there are some
differences in their material reality granted by their different legal
statuses and what it grants or doesn’t grants them), but mostly an
arbitrary separation enforced by the partition of the country and the
creation of its official and semi-official borders. For example when he
says this (after quote from Edward Said):
“Edward W. Said proposes to analyze the regional political situation in
these terms: everywhere, a religious, ethnic or clan minority
appropriates political and economic power at the expense of
majority of the population, Israel not escaping the sad standard
regional. Unlike Omar Barghouti, obsessed with the question
Palestinian – and this is understandable in her case – Said, exiled
in the United States, takes the necessary distance. Whether it is appropriate to follow it
Essentially, however, it will be observed that Jewish domination over
entire Arab population of Palestine, citizen minority
of Israel and the unlawful majority of the occupied territories, does not
of the domination of a minority over the majority, since the
Jewish population in Palestine is more or less equal to the
Palestinian Arab, at least to stick to the current one
in the territory of Mandatory Palestine. “
What I’m trying to say with this is that the treatment of the Palestinian
citizens of Israel by the Israeli state (and for that matter, also other
groups in the population who don’t fit the founding Israeli mythology)
and their everyday reality is inseparable and inherently connected – in
the past and in the present – with that of the Palestinians of the
Occupied Territories. The whole geo-political region known as
Israel-Palestine has evolved and keeps evolving in relation to that
arbitraryness and to other equally decisive factors (such as the role of
Israel and its tech and arms industry around the world), and cannot be
viewd outside of its totality and outside of its function in the broader
regional and global spectacle.
Examining the legitimacy of a boycott of the State of Israel has thus
led to change the terms of the civil society appeal
Palestinian, where it is a question of boycotting the State of Israel “until
what he applies international laws and universal principles
of human rights “, a formula far too general to put into
the Palestinian cause is highlighted on the international scene. this being
posed, it remains to be seen whether other state apparatuses practice this type
discriminatory regime akin to apartheid, a minority
being subject to law while the majority is left to arbitrariness
of a master, discrimination on a racial, ethnic basis
or religious. What about, for example, the status of workers
foreigners in Qatar? Let us borrow from a work dating from 2013 some
ideological, legal and demographic data on this subject:
“Citizenship is an extremely sensitive subject in this
society where nationals are ultra-minority. Here, blood ties
are essential.  “
“Of all the Gulf monarchies, the emirate is the one that displays
the highest percentage of immigrant workers in its population. A
record. Out of approximately 1.64 million inhabitants in 2010, Qataris
form a tiny minority: 180,000 nationals for nearly 1.5 million
foreigners, Arabs and Westerners but above all migrants
from India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Nepal,
Philippines and China. They are the ones who build with the sweat of their
front the Qatari miracle.  “
“To achieve them [these are the sites of the future
world of football], the authorities have planned to import no less than one
million Asian workers.  “
“On a daily basis, relations between nationals and foreigners remain
asymmetrical and marked by relations of domination. A feeling
anchored in the local mentality, still imbued with the memories of time
recent years of slavery. Historically, slavery was not abolished in
Qatar than in the 1950s.  “
“Some Gulf countries have started to relax, see to abolish, this
sponsorship system [a kind of dependence of the foreign worker on a
guardian] denounced by human rights organizations.
In Qatar, it remains one of the most rigid in the region with that of
Saudi Arabia, which also maintains the exit permit. To such
point that the NGO Human Rights Watch (HRW), as well as the Organization
International Labor Organization (ILO), do not hesitate to use the term
“Forced labor” to qualify this legal regime and its abuses.  “
A minority holds citizenship by virtue of “blood ties”,
while the overwhelming majority have no rights except that of
work under legal and material conditions which
akin if not to slavery, at least to “forced labor”. From
then, can we decently call for a boycott of cultural institutions?
of Israel on the one hand, because of its discriminatory policy in
occupied territories, while applauding the Paris team
Saint-Germain on the other hand, knowing that it is Qatari property?
And what about the football world cup organized by this state in
2022? One can imagine the international indignation that would arouse
the organization by Israel of such a symbolic sporting event
friendship between peoples … Of course, Qatari masters do not
do not bomb the homes of foreign workers, but they do
are not subjected to suicide bombings, rocket attacks, or
knife attacks, and the bombing of populations
civilians, the Israelis, it is a fact, remain far below the norms
English, Iraqi, American, Syrian or Russian in the region,
while waiting to see how the Saudis behave in Yemen… A
stick to the analogical relationship that guides us, that of a minority
imposing its law on a majority and discriminating against it on a racial basis,
ethnic or religious, nothing substantial therefore distinguishes the
treatment of the “indigenous” populations of Ci-Jordan with that of
“foreign” workers in Qatar, except that in one case it is
to occupy one territory, in the other to exploit a labor force.
Let’s open a parenthesis here. There are spirits sometimes pretending to be
progressives, even communists, who object to me, here or there, that the
discrimination against immigrant workers in
petromonarchies of the Gulf are not of the same nature as those which
condemns the State of Israel to the Palestinians in the territories
busy, for the simple reason that, precisely, the first are “
foreigners ”, while the latter are“ indigenous ”. I see it for
on my part a xenophobic argument: it would be less illegitimate, if they
follow, to reduce to a status of quasi-slavery of “foreigners”,
were they born on the soil of the country in question and / or would they constitute
the overwhelming majority of its population, to deprive the “natives”
the right to self-determination. In other words, apartheid in the
occupied territories would be unacceptable, but the status of workers
imported from Asia into the petromonarchies of the Gulf would be
acceptable, as would be acceptable the control of a few tribes
Arab allies of the West on the main resources
oil and gas in the region. I do not share this
vision of things, and consequently if the boycott of Israel is legitimate,
until the occupation of Ci-Jordan ceases, it is under
condition of extending the boycott to all state apparatuses including
institutional policies are akin to apartheid, and this without
enter into nauseating considerations about autochthony
of some, of the strangeness of others (so much so as to follow the analogy which
guide us, it turns out that historically the Bantu of South Africa
were not, in the eyes of the Boers, the first to arrive in Cape Town …).
In any case – and I’ve probably mentioned this in the past – my biggest
problem/opposition to BDS specifically and to these type of movements in
general is that it ENFORCES nationalism – the same ideology and
mystification that gave birth to Zionism and the like in the first
place, and which had tried and tries to stifle popular revolts (see the
attitude of the PLO to the first stages of the first intifada, for
example) on which the representatives of the nation always strive to
have a monopoly. It enforces the separation in idea and practice between
Jews living in Israel and Palestinians, as it carries on the work of the
Zionist ideologists by identifying the Jews living in Israel with their
own stat apparatus, even in the minds of those who rightly “care” about
the fate of Palestinians. As far as I know, BDS boycotts ANYTHING that
has to do with the geographical definition of Israel, which is different
than boycotting only those institutions, companies or people who are
related BY THEIR FUNCTION to the state or to the apparatus of oppression
and/or occupation. It strengthens the illusion that the residents of a
certain state have the same interest as their representatives. There
lies the rub. Even if BDS has made some minor victories that I’m unaware
of, the bigger picture is that it actually STRENGTHENS Zionism ALONG
WITH its Palestinian nationalist counterpart – two sides of the same
My critique is pretty much summed up in this, and it applies to other
third-worldism militancy and the whole notion of our modern version of
the false idea of a “revolutionary People” that you can find with
Maoists such as the Weather underground etc. Seeing Anarchists waving
Palestinian and Rojava flags and chanting “we are all the children of
Gaza” and that sort of stuff. I think it’s a direct result (one of
many) of the passivity or inability to do anything concrete about your
own life and country/city that you romanticise about and adopt one or
more specific colonized or occupied “people”, taking their “cause” to be
more important, separate from, or outside of the politics and mechanisms
that you otherwise declare to be the root of our misery – usually
without knowing enough or not wanting to know enough about the
mechanisms that sustain these colonizations and occupations, their
broader context and contradictions. These type of boycotts are also so
appealing to people because it’s so damn easy to join it, you don’t
really do anything, you just passively declare something or “choose”
not to buy or attend something or work with this or that institution, or
implore other people not to do those things… I mean, this is not
really the authentic subjective activity that creates revolutions…
Above: official version is that this shows ultra-orthodox Jews running as members of the Israeli Ethiopian community block the main entrance to Jerusalem on July 2, 2019, to protest the killing of 19-year-old Solomon Tekah by an off-duty police officer, who was merely put on house arrest.
Below: Netanya: cop car placed right way up
More here “Demonstrator moderately injured in hit-and-run; some 50,000 commuters remain stuck in traffic as thousands block highways nationwide; car set on fire in Tel Aviv…The throngs of protesters closed down at least 12 critical junctions across the country. Nineteen-year-old Solomon Tekah was shot dead during an altercation in the Kiryat Haim neighborhood of Haifa on Sunday. An eyewitness to the shooting has reportedly told the Justice Ministry’s Police Internal Investigations Department that, contrary to the officer’s claims, he did not appear to have been in danger when he opened fire. The officer was briefly arrested before being released to house arrest, sparking rage in the community….Footage captured in the center of Tel Aviv saw a demonstrator leap onto a moving car and proceed to smash its windshield. Hours later, the car was set on fire….While protests Monday against the police were primarily attended by Ethiopian-Israeli demonstrators, Tuesday saw a mobilization of members of the general Israeli public, who joined the chants against police brutality toward the minority community.”
Tal, from Israel, writes: “…the Ethiopian protests in Israel are spreading, many main junctions throughout the country are blocked for most of the day and night, with burning tires & burning cars (a “new” thing here – you could hear how the journocops are gasping and shocked when describing this, as if it’s the most extreme act they ever saw). It’s still going on as I’m writing this. I was trying to reach a blockade at a junction in the area where my parents live (about 35 minutes by car) but there was no possibility of arriving with public transport because of the blockade itself… This junction is close to the town where the murdered youth was shot. I tried to walk from the nearest stop of the diverted bus route, but it was way too much walking from there to the blockade (I think about 45 minute walk, or more), so I headed back. I spent 1½ hours trying to arrive there and then trying to get back to where my parents live. Anyway, on the TV they say that in some places they are also throwing rocks and other objects at the cops and fire-trucks. There were also a few dozen (maybe more at this point ?) violent arrests. The “leaders” of the Ethiopian community who speak on TV, at least the ones I had a chance to watch, are justifying the protests but imploring the protesters not to turn violent and be peaceful. But there are also others, such as the young man who just spoke on TV while I was writing this (I don’t know who he is, if he is a known figure or not) who angrily asked of the others in the TV studio why they are so shocked by a burning car and how it’s bollocks compared to the suffering of the Ethiopians at the hands of the police and the state etc. They even lie about what they show to the viewers while they show it, for example showing live a demo/blockade at the entrance to Jerusalem where you can clearly see a large presence of non-Ethiopians and even Orthodox Jews among the protesters and the reporter ignores this and describes all of them as Ethiopians. A broken and old-looking car that was dragged by protesters to the bonfire at another blockade made the reporter say something like “obviously, this car was attacked [how can you ‘attack’ an empty car?] and probably dragged from among the cars abandoned by their owners who couldn’t get home due to the blockade…” [Afterwards I heard someone else on the same program say that this was an already broken and probably abandoned car from a nearby parking-lot.]…many confrontations. brick-throwing, police-car flipping and burning, a molotov cocktail was even thrown towards a police station. The police are preparing for a heavy crack-down for tomorrow morning to prevent any sort of demonstration.”
A Facebook page in Hebrew wrote this (translated by Tal): “In 2006, Border Police officers entered a house in Jaffa to locate illegal [Palestinian] residents. Some are caught. They are made to stand in a row with their backs to the officers, who beat them vigorously, also with the truncheon of their commander who was present at the event. For dessert, a rifle was attached to the back of one of them, and he was shot to death. The commander claimed that a bullet was accidentally discharged. Do you know who the commander in that the event was? I don’t know, but he has the same name as the policeman who now claims to have fired on the floor and the bullet was accidentally sprayed at Salomon Takka and killed him.”
More here: “In addition to the protests, dozens more Ethiopian-Israelis joined a Facebook campaign declaring that they would refuse to perform their reserve army duties. ” This official report shows that young ‘offenders’ of Ethiopian origin in Israel are 3 times more likely to be sent to prison than ‘offenders’ with other backgrounds. And see this for a report on previous examples of cop racism and brutality against Ethiopian Jews. See also “ethiopian jews riot in israel (may 2015)” And “they stole our bodies: work in Israel” which in part talks of racism there, though more generally.
Israel: thousands of Ethiopian Jews protest nationwide after teenager shot dead by cop“Hundreds of protesters burned tires and blocked major roads in the Haifa area on Monday afternoon and evening, and thousands reportedly staged protests nationwide, amid intense anger in Israel’s Ethiopian community over the fatal shooting of an unarmed man by an off-duty police officer a day earlier…In Haifa and nearby Kiryat Ata, demonstrators blocked roads and hurled burning tires in the streets. Three police officers were injured by rocks hurled by protesters” More here. “The largest protest was taking place in the Haifa suburb of Kiryat Ata, where more than 1,000 people had been blocking the Histadrut Junction since the morning hours. Similar protests were taking place in Rehovot in central Israel and the southern cities of Be’er Sheva and Ashkelon. In Ashdod, protesters blocked the southern entrance to the city, as well as main roads in the area….Dozens of protesters also gathered Monday night outside the home of Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan in Kiryat Ono, near Tel Aviv.” See also “ethiopian jews riot in israel (may 2015)”
“Several dozen ultra-Orthodox protesters clashed with police Sunday as they demonstrated outside the Jerusalem army recruitment office against the arrest of a yeshiva student who failed to show up for his enlistment…Later on Sunday evening, Haredi protesters in Jerusalem blocked off the Mea Shearim neighborhood, while demonstrators in Beit Shemesh pushed dumpsters into the street, blocking traffic, and hurled stones at police officers. Last Thursday, hundreds of demonstrators in Jerusalem and Beit Shemesh torched dumpsters and threw rocks at police officers in protest against the same arrest. Seven were detained in the capital and one in Beit Shemesh. Many in the ultra-Orthodox (“Haredi”) community shun the mandatory national service that applies to most Israelis, and the community has historically enjoyed blanket exemptions from the army, in favor of religious seminary studies.
Police have sporadically detained ultra-Orthodox draft-dodgers in the past year. In July, five Haredi demonstrators protesting the IDF draft outside a Jaffa courthouse were arrested. At the end of the mostly peaceful protest, some of the demonstrators attacked policemen, overturned garbage cans, blocked traffic, hurled eggs and stones at cops, and flipped over two motorcycles, damaging them, police said at the time. There were no reports of injuries. Reforms passed in the Knesset in 2014 that sought to do away with the exemptions and gradually increase ultra-Orthodox recruitment met fierce opposition from many in the community.“
The Ben Torah, as they call themselves, are a very interesting phenomenon in the region. To clarify the terminology: Haredi Judaism, Hasidic Judaism, and Orthodox Judaism are all names for different religious movements within the Jewish faith. The three can be looked at as a family, with Haredi Judaism existing as a subset of Orthodox Judaism, and Hasidic Judaism existing as a further subset of the subset. Hasidim, the mystic branch of the religion, share similarities with Sufism in Islam: an emphasis on mysticism as a communistic social-relation (e.g. the dreadlocked Baye Faal Sufi order of Senegambia) rather than an individualistic head-trip, a certain anti-authoritarianism, and a certain literary quality (tales of the Sufis and of the Hasidim are both often humorous and supra-logical).
Besides resisting conscription and denouncing the existence of the State of Israel as idolatrous (which it is, like EVERY other state), the Haredim also have the highest unemployment and birth rates of Israeli citizens, and their constituency plays a swing-vote role between the two major political parties in the electoral system. Other practical opposition to the state manifests in their refusal to send their children into the secular compulsory miseducation system, and the refusal of their own schools to impose standardised testing on their children. It is hardly surprising therefore that “A study in late 2006 claimed that just over a third of Israelis considered Haredim the most hated group in Israel.”
Their estimated global population currently numbers 1.3–1.5 million and, due to a virtual absence of interfaith marriage and a high birth rate, their numbers are growing rapidly. Their numbers have also been boosted by a substantial number of secular Jews adopting a Haredi lifestyle. The chief political division among Haredim has been in their approach to the State of Israel. As with most radical movements, one branch is made of sell-outs who collaborate with the state blubbering about moderation and pragmatism in excuse for spinelessness, and the other is made of those who refuse to prostitute themselves out as hypocrites for the sake of an ease and comfort suitable to courtesans rather than free men and women.
As of 2012 it was estimated that 37% of Haredi men and 49% of Haredi women were employed. The most recent figures from the Central Bureau of Statistics on employment rates place Haredi women at 69.3% comparable to 71% for the women’s national figure, whilst working Haredi men have increased to 44.5% but still fall far below the 81.5% for the national picture.
It is estimated that half as many of the Haredi community are in employment as the rest of population. This has led to increasing financial deprivation and 50% of children within the community live below the poverty line.
There are, of course, plenty of less than exemplary, not to mention plain reactionary tendencies at work among every existing social sub-category of the human species. Maybe most glaringly among the Haredim and many other religious traditions, the patriarchal sexual morality at play here seems more than a little outdated. Far from a move that liberates women from the bonds of domestic slavery to leap into the mystically superior shackles of wage-slavery (as in the Gospel of mainstream feminists), the dramatic decrease in the percentage of unemployed women relative to that of men more likely means that young women are increasingly being sent off as breadwinners (maternal duties devolving onto grandmothers, as is often the case among the poor in South Africa) while males remain at leisure to commune with THE LORD.
Other than their solidarity, bravery, consistency, voluntary poverty & spiritually employed economic unemployment, what is possibly most outstanding about these admirable people is the fact that they are able to marshal enough buying-power to dictate business policies, despite their poverty (more than 50 percent live below the poverty line and get state allowances) and their statistical minority (7% of the population). For this reason, some companies and organizations in Israel refrain from including women or other images deemed immodest in their advertisements to avoid Haredi consumer boycotts (very widely used — and often effective — tactic in the South African struggles of the 1980s). Through the organisation of volunteer medical associations they make a major contribution to the healthcare services of the state — and so benefit themselves, considering the poorest rely most on state facilities. [SK]
Discussion about this added on 7/9/16:
A Jewish woman I know objected to this verbally over the phone and I got in contact with a Jewish guy (who wrote this about the riots of Ethiopian Jews last year), who said:
“I have to say i’m not a big connaiseur of jewish theology and branches,
yet i have to say that presenting the hasidic movement as a subversive
movement is a mistake. They are ultra-orthodox and intolerant like the
others. Their only real difference is that for them religious practices
have to be done as a party (dancing, chanting, etc.), but that doesn’t
make them more friendly at all !
About the Haredim in general, they are not ALL against the state of
israel, it’s more complicated and diversified than that. Also, the reason
why some of them are against the state of israel is not a good reason from
an anti autoritarian point of view. They are against the state of israel
because it was created by man and should be created by god with the
arrival of the messiah, wich stays unclear in SK’s note.
The whole note seems like an apology of the haredim, this is very weird
Also, most of the haredi are forbiden to work, because they have to study
and focus themselves on Talmud everyday. That’s why, most of the time,
only women works (several jobs at a time… treated like slaves while
giving birth almost every year…). The statistics in the note may be
true, but they should be verified.
But the most important thing, is that unemployment in the Haredi community
is volontary, its not for economic reasons, like the note would leave us
guessing. Also they receive a shitload of money from orthodox around the
world and evangelists from america.
Most of the bullshit said in the last paragraph of the note about the
haredi could be applied to an anti-capitalist support of Daesh!!”
“My sympathies are with the militant atheism of your/our comrade. There is every reason to oppose religious sects especially in countries like Israel, Iran and the Spain of the 1930s, etc, where clerical authority also involves real political authority. However I try not to react against these things in a way that just becomes an equal and opposite dogma….
If my comments seem to present the hasidic movement as subversive that would indeed be a mistake. All I wanted to do was to contextualise those particular riots as a specific, contradictory an by no means totally subversive MOMENT, alongside all other such equally contradictory moments we document on this site.
It seemed particularly important to do so as the assumption might
otherwise be (I myself thought this before looking into it) that these
were people who supported the state of Israel (and by extension its
army) but just wanted to get out conscription for some reason. If such were the case, I don’t think such opposition would belong on this site at all.
There was also a fair bit of irony in my comments which could easily be mistaken for unqualified praise. My note does not leave anyone guessing about the reasons for unemployment — it specifically lists their ‘voluntary unemployment’ as one of their admirable qualities. Obviously, for those of us who believe in ‘the right to be lazy’ and the abolition of work, it is ironic that some of those who practice it should do so from perspectives so different to our own in many ways. But fundamentalism of all sorts, including the atheistic variety, unfortunately anaesthetises people to the subtleties, ironies, and humor of such ‘ruses of history’. Probably the Haredim themselves would be scandalised to be associated with the louts, layabouts, and other lumpen elements praised by anarchists for their indolent contempt of alienated labour.
Then again anarchists themselves are often far too rigidly schematic to appreciate how often more congenial versions of apparently religious unemployment can be to their own perspectives. The beauty expressed by Rumi, a Sufi Muslim (as I pointed out there are certain similarities between the some Sufis and some Hasidim) in the following poem is wasted on them, simply because it’s made from the (clearly tongue in cheek) viewpoint of religious mysticism:
As for us, He has appointed the job of permanent unemployment.
If He wanted us to work, after all,
He would not have created this wine.
With a skinfull of this, Sir,
would you rush out to commit economics?
Now, I myself am as ‘Muslim’ as our comrade is ‘Jewish’, yet I don’t
feel the need to express haughty and automatic contempt for all those
who take Allah seriously just because they may not be very tolerant or friendly towards me and my ideas. Maybe that’s one reason why many anarchists aren’t particularly friendly towards me and my ideas either, for that matter. As a matter of fact, militant activists in general have hardly got a sterling record when it comes to tolerance, even (especially!) for each other.
Again, my note specifically pointed out the inevitably problematic aspects of sexual division of labour among those who subscribe to a patriarchal ideology. Yes, the Haredim men’s contemplation of God is supported by female drudgery, just as the radical academic’s contemplation of her own navel is supported by the intellectual and manual drudgery of her inferiors. The point is not to condemn the idle from our moral high-horses, but abolish a world based on hierarchy and useless drudgery altogether. Unfortunately, the latter being so daunting a task, too many comrades prefer the former pastime, which is as easy as farting downwind.
The Jewish woman I mentioned at the beginning eventually wrote the following: ” there is nothing subversive about trying to force all men to spend their time studying God – I exclude women because they don’t have to bother their little heads with such weighty philosophical debate. Their place is in the maternity hospital and making chicken soup in any spare moment.”
I [SF] finally wrote:
“Whilst the actions of the Haredi come over as a subversive moment (I myself sent the original link, if I remember correctly), it’s not like most of the subversive moments we talk about on the site. As I said in the original “News of Opposition” preamble: ” What I automatically exclude here, given the attempt to focus on ”independent opposition”, are clashes in which either ethnic or religious or sport team or political faction fights seem to dominate.” And there’s a vast difference between a riot by an organisation of Orthodox Jews that has been going for over 150 years (and was originally set up to oppose any tendency towards secularism) which has a very rigid and entrenched hierarchy and riots involving people from very diverse tendencies, who could go beyond their very specific identities and experiences of alienation. So it’s not like ” all other such equally contradictory moments we document on this site. “
As for the ” fair bit of irony in my comments which could easily be mistaken for unqualified praise. ” – well, the irony passed me by as it did at least 2 other people I know, so it really was mistaken for unqualified praise. And the support for unemployment on the part of the men is a bit like support for unemployment amongst any aristocracy or royalty, since it depends on the intensification of exploitation of those lower in the hierarchy. I’m sure, like me, you’ve known people whose assertion of the “right to be lazy” meant refusing to do the housework and leaving it to others (usually women). I don’t see “tolerance” for this kind of use of religion is at all haughty or expressing some automatic contempt. Criticising such attitudes, or ignoring them, is hardly some “fundamentalism of …the atheistic variety”. It’s fundamental, but hardly an ism.
You say, “the Haredim men’s contemplation of God is supported by female drudgery, just as the radical academic’s contemplation of her own navel is supported by the intellectual and manual drudgery of her inferiors. The point is not to condemn the idle from our moral high-horses, but abolish a world based on hierarchy and useless drudgery altogether. Unfortunately, the latter being so daunting a task, too many comrades prefer the former pastime, which is as easy as farting downwind. “
I would most definitely “condemn” such academics, and it’s certainly not from a moral high-horse, but from a need to critique social relations, although that also presupposes some kind of “moral” attitude that’s not at all like the hypocritical self-contradictory dominant “morality”. This is a prerequisite for participating in a movement that tends towards abolishing a “world based on hierarchy and useless drudgery altogether. ” And this task is not so daunting if one sees it not in terms of the final result but first of all as something which can immediately involve a refusal of tolerance towards those people who maintain hierarchical relations in areas of life where they don’t at all have to. (When I say “immediately” I don’t mean literally from one second to the next, but over a period of time between critique and the possibility of change arising from such critique, ie progress over time) . Moreover, it’s not in any way as easy as farting downwind and dismissing it as a”pastime” comes over as a bit like condemning from a moral high-horse.
There’s a bit of defensive intellectual contortionism in your reply. And it’s rather ungenerous towards to the 2 people who felt angry enough to respond to the bit you wrote, to dismiss their attitudes as “fundamentalism”. We who wish to oppose this world certainly need to develop a critique of religion not from some crude atheism but from a recognition that all entrenched ideologies and theologies maintain individuals in their complicity with this society, with their misery, whilst at the same time recognising that religion, as well as dogmas of other varieties, contain elements of subversive desire in an utterly conservative and miserable form: ” the heart of a heartless world…the soul of soulless conditions….Critique has plucked the imaginary flowers on the chain not in order that man shall continue to bear that chain without fantasy or consolation, but so that he shall throw off the chain and pluck the living flower.”
I think in future it might be best when putting up something about things we don’t know very much about that we make clear that any remarks are tentative and coming from a distant relation to the subject, that we are prepared to admit that we might have got things wrong. For the moment I’ll put up the various remarks about this under the entry for the 21/8/16 and on the “What’s New?” page. But I don’t seriously want to continue with this discussion unless you or others provide some new insights or research into this particular religious grouping .”
Israel: clashes with cops on demo against Bedouin forced resettlement plan (more here and here) 30/11/13
Israel: 100s of undocumented African migrants flee detention centre (Sunday) to march and demonstrate (Monday)…..and next day (today) dozens of them demonstrate in Jerusalem outside PM’s office (more here) 17/12/13