US Indymedia Global Indymedia Publish About us
Printed from Boston IMC : http://boston.indymedia.org/
Boston.Indymedia
IVAW Winter Soldier

Winter Soldier
Testimonies
Brad Presente

Other Local News

Spare Change News
Open Media Boston
Somerville Voices
Cradle of Liberty
The Sword and Shield

Local Radio Shows

WMBR 88.1 FM
What's Left
WEDS at 8:00 pm
Local Edition
FRI (alt) at 5:30 pm

WMFO 91.5 FM
Socialist Alternative
SUN 11:00 am

WZBC 90.3 FM
Sounds of Dissent
SAT at 11:00 am
Truth and Justice Radio
SUN at 6:00 am

Create account Log in
Comment on this article | Email this article | Printer-friendly version
News :: International
Animal rights activists: Up against the wall
03 Oct 2005
In the early afternoon of December 26, 2003, a coalition of Israeli activists working against the occupation fence enclosing the West Bank approached the hundred mile barrier near the Palestinian village of Mas’ha, four miles from the Green Line. They had decided to continue their march from the northern Palestinian city of Jenin to the Israeli-annexed Jerusalem, highlighting the violence of the occupation and calling for an end to this apartheid. Nonviolence was the tactic: they were to shake the fence and attempt to dismantle it using bolt cutters, issuing the message that they would not be halted by barriers that not only separate people, but sever the lines of dialogue between them.
Click on image for a larger version

os1.jpg
http://www.thestudentunderground.org/

Published in The Student Underground, a student radical newspaper dedicated to activism, alternative culture, health, music, and much more. To view the latest issue, check out http://www.micahleedesigns.com/the_underground/issue51.pdf
To get involved, come to our meetings at the back of the George Sherman Union, 775 Commonwealth Ave., every Monday at 9:00pm.

Animal rights activists: Up against the wall
By William Budington (legindish (at) hotmail.com)

In the early afternoon of December 26, 2003, a coalition of Israeli activists working against the occupation fence enclosing the West Bank approached the hundred mile barrier near the Palestinian village of Mas’ha, four miles from the Green Line. They had decided to continue their march from the northern Palestinian city of Jenin to the Israeli-annexed Jerusalem, highlighting the violence of the occupation and calling for an end to this apartheid. Nonviolence was the tactic: they were to shake the fence and attempt to dismantle it using bolt cutters, issuing the message that they would not be halted by barriers that not only separate people, but sever the lines of dialogue between them.

During the course of the action, however, the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) responded without provocation, restraint, or moderation. Standing twenty feet in front of the activists, they opened fire on the crowd with live ammunition. One activist, Gil Na’amati, was hit in the leg and severely injured. As he was being rushed to the hospital, the real significance of this incident began to set in--not only for those involved, but also for anyone aware of the political realities in Israel and occupied Palestine (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anarchists_Against_the_Wall). While brutality of this kind is routine when its subjects are Palestinian, it was the first time that the Israeli army had ever opened fire on Israeli Jews. During the media frenzy that immediately followed the event, the activists were quickly christened: “Anarchists Against the Wall,” “Anarchists Against the Separation Fence,” or “Anarchists Against Fences.” Although the first name stuck, few Israelis remember or are aware that this action had actually been carried out under the name “One Struggle.”

One Struggle developed from the radical animal rights and anarchist movements, as an attempt to illuminate the common roots of oppression, discrimination, and exploitation affecting humans and non-humans alike. To these activists, oppression is a social phenomenon, caused by the human social relation of domination and hierarchy over both other species and their own. In a country such as Israel, this viewpoint comes not as an abstract theoretical analysis emanating from some ivory tower, but as an eminent conclusion from the everyday experiences of politically conscious people. Anyone who has visited a slaughterhouse can sense the fear in pigs’ eyes as they are brought to their untimely end, feel outrage and anger towards those who facilitate and promote this slaughter, and be compelled to action against these abuses. These very same reactions are present when viewing the slaughter of human subjects.

One Struggle as a whole shares these basic perspectives, though they are not bound to rigid ideologies or dogmas most befitting Marxist fringe cults. For the most part, they came together not because of these perspectives but rather as a result of their shared understandings as friends. “We had all individually refused to join the (compulsory) military service, had been involved in the Israeli Punk/Hardcore subculture for some time, and the majority of us were Straightedge (although that is not really relevant). Basically, we were part of the same social & activist circles, and most of us were just friends,” comments one anonymous member.

But One Struggle was not the first group of its kind in Israel. In the mid-nineties, the first animal rights group in Israel was formed by radical activists and anarchists. Its name, “Anonymous,” reflected the common anonymity of human and animal victims. As time went on, however, Anonymous became more mainstream and degraded into a more obstinately hierarchical and unaccountable structure. Pursuing every possible avenue of mass appeal while watering down its political message, the group came to ignore issues of human rights, especially those concerning Palestinians. Although such a touchy issue was not to be discussed officially, for the simple reason that it was controversial, many of the original members felt it necessary to take a stand for precisely the same reason: controversy made it that much more vital to speak. They felt that they didn’t belong in, or didn’t want to belong to, such an organization.

So this circle of friends began to formulate an alternative that would hold true to the founding spirit of Anonymous. “In 2002, ‘One Struggle’ was officially formed by a handful of animal rights activists, after several long meetings regarding both theory and practice ... it was never meant to be the kind of group that seeks members; [we organized] more along the lines of an affinity group, a small, close-knit collective of people who know each other and share a more or less similar vision,” explained one member. Fed up with the asceticism that has come to dominate modern revolutionary movements, One Struggle’s tactic of choice is straightforward action: demonstrations, pickets, postering, information stalls, and good old-fashioned conversation. When it comes to well-planned direct action against animal abusers, whether public or clandestine, their position has never been ambiguous: they give it their full support.

Though small in numbers, One Struggle’s impact has been tremendous within Israel and the occupied territories. For the 2002 World Day for Laboratory Animals, organized by the Israeli Society for the Abolition of Vivisection, a number of the featured speakers were members of the Israeli Knesset, and guilty of complicity in and outright support of the occupation. In response, One Struggle handed out leaflets pointing out the hypocrisy of supporting brutal treatment of Palestinians by the Israeli army while opposing brutal treatment of animals by scientists. One Struggle members are also in attendance every Gay Pride Day, reaching out to the gay community and imploring them to recognize not only their own oppression, but also that of those who cannot speak out for themselves.

A number of actions have been organized under the One Struggle banner as well: for over a year they have been holding weekly vigils outside McDonalds, alerting customers and passersby to the cruelty of factory farming. Last May, One Struggle occupied the offices of Proctor & Gamble to protest its major role in animal testing, and in July they chained themselves to the gates of a horse racing tournament, despite the antagonism of spectators. Just recently, many members have been pouring their energy into “Veggie Bar,” a vegan fair trade bar located in central Tel Aviv, that offers homemade vegan meals and drinks. Hebrew animal rights pamphlets are hard to come by, but thanks to the work of these dedicated activists, “Animal Liberation and Social Revolution” and Bruce Friedrich’s “Veganism in a Nutshell” have been made available.

While initiating support camps in the West Bank, they have also coordinated joint Israeli-Palestinian peaceful anti-border actions in Salem, Anin, and Zabube. Recognizing that solidarity is impossible without shared channels of dialogue, understanding, and experience, activists from both sides of the wall have come together to form temporary communities at these anti-border camps. These communities operate by consensus decision-making involving all parties at the camp, in the true tradition of direct democracy. Many Palestinian activists are introduced to animal rights at these camps, and the Israeli activists learn of the hardships of Palestinian people first-hand.

“It is our opinion that Israel is an Apartheid state to begin with, founded on Zionism: a strong, sometimes openly fascist nationalism, inherently discriminatory and racist. But these days, and particularly since the beginning of the Al Aqsa Intifada in late 2000, the social and political climate in Israel is the most right wing, racist and intolerant it has ever been in all of its existence. Basically, it is an extreme variation on Bush’s theme of ‘you’re either with us or with the terrorists,’ so that if you only as much as express doubts regarding the sacred foundations of the state of Israel - Zionism, Judaism, Militarism - you are already ‘with the terrorists.’” This has particularly disastrous effects for those ‘up against the wall’ in occupied Palestine. The separation wall will cut deep into the heart of the West Bank, within the Green Line established in 1967. It will effectively annex 37% of occupied Palestine to Israel, leaving them with 12% of their historic lands. Furthermore, 132,000 Palestinians will be isolated from their fields, leaving them with no compensation or sustenance (http://www.endtheoccupation.org/img/original/Wall%20Thumbnail%20III.jpg). Over 800,000 Palestinians will be affected by the wall, or about 50% of those remaining in the West Bank (http://www.palestinehistory.com/wall.htm). To add insult to injury, Yedioth Achronoth reported (11/22/02) that Palestinian olive trees uprooted by the wall have been sold on the Israeli black market for up to $5,000, while former owners seeking compensation have been threatened and beaten.

As the suffering of humans and non-humans continues, One Struggle will continue its fight for the liberation of all creatures. That so much has been accomplished by such a small, young group, numbering no more than 25 members, is testament to the dedication of these activists and anarchists. A climate of resistance is beginning to develop in Israel, which is critical for such an urgent situation.
os2.jpg
os3.jpg

This work is in the public domain
Add a quick comment
Title
Your name Your email

Comment

Text Format
Anti-spam Enter the following number into the box:
To add more detailed comments, or to upload files, see the full comment form.