Who Is the Real Anarchist?

Where are they who believe in 'direct action, open defiance and opposition to any law?' Their hard core does not hang out at trendy Tel Aviv boutiques, but rather east of there, on rocky hills.

Anew and juicy enemy has been added to the long list of enemies of the people, which grows longer all the time in the words of the right wing just as it grows smaller in political terms. Now that the "lefties" have almost evaporated from the political map, and the "opposition" that is responsible for everything has been swallowed up by the government, and now that the foreigners have been snared, and the "media" have almost been done away with, and the Palestinians have been pushed behind the separation wall and out of sight and mind, the new fifth column has popped up: Its terrifying name can be enjoyed when it is spat out between clenched teeth - the "anarchists."

The use of bombastic but hollow terms merely because they sound like catchy curses has become an integral part of public debate in Israel. It is true that among the trendy types, the students of cinema, the young couples, and those who have given up on finding apartments, there may be a single anarchist that is aware that Bakunin, Kropotkin, and Emma Goldman are not the names of restaurants in Tel Aviv's Nahalat Binyamin neighborhood. But to connect anyone or anything that is left of [the extreme rightwing activists] Moshe Feiglin, Itamar Ben-Gvir, and [Education Minister] Gideon Saar with the old ideology that aspired to annihilate any existing hierarchy and political order is no less ridiculous a joke than the attempt to connect the settlements and outposts with political Zionism.

If there is anarchy in Israel, it cannot be found in the protest movement, among those demanding equality, social justice and even peace, heaven forbid - those who are concerned with their future and wish to fit in to the existing order in a more egalitarian way. Also the fact that someone broke a windowpane during a demonstration or (Oh my God ) boycotted the White Night festivities does not make him an anarchist. Moreover, although the Miri Regevs and other substandard politicians have difficulty comprehending this, "even" the desire to bring down and replace the incumbent government is neither an anarchistic nor a terrorist act nor, at least until now, a criminal offense.

But if we are already discussing anarchy and anarchists, it would be worthwhile for those who are hitting them so hard to start looking in the right place: Let them look in the mirror, or at least in their milieu.

For, after all, where can one find those who want to change the regime and to revolt against it? Those who want to set up on the ruins of the state "a social order based on communal unions" (one of the definitions of anarchism )? Who are they who revolt against the kingdom, who don't give a damn about the law, who for years have imposed their agenda on others with violence? Who are they who blur the borders, who call the judicial system "rotten," who instigate those in the army to mutiny, and are then invited to lecture to them on motivation? Where are they who believe in "direct action, open defiance and opposition to any law and obstacle" (to quote the anarchist Emma Goldman )? Their hard core does not hang out at the trendy Tel Aviv boutiques or on the boulevards, but rather east of there, on the rocky hills. And not only there. Even in the government itself.

Here is an exercise for the summer vacation: Find the common denominator - other than the price - between the two grandiose engineering projects that the Netanyahu government recently announced it would adopt: The first was to carefully dismantle and transfer to another piece of occupied land the houses at Beit El's Ulpana neighborhood, with the added bonus of hundreds of apartments in high-rise buildings. The second idea is related to the "Altalena," the weapons ship of the pre-state underground, Etzel, that was sunk off the shores of Tel Aviv in June 1948 on orders of the government of the new State of Israel. That idea is to retrieve the wreckage of the ship from the depths of the sea for the purpose of, ah, for what purpose?

No one expects the present government to compete with, or to hold the views of, then-Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion who [gave the order and] described the cannon that sunk the Altalena as "holy" because in his eyes Etzel's attempt to land the ship was an unacceptable act of rebellion and anarchy. But don't worry - no bulldozer at an illegal outpost will be declared "holy;" ditto the saw that will dismantle the houses. On the contrary, it will be the rebellion that will be termed holy. Because on the scale between correctitude and anarchy, the current Israeli government has already made it abundantly clear where it stands: between the one and the other, with a wink and a nod; and actually closer to the other, and even that, only on a day when things are especially decisive.