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matzpen

  • The untold story of Jewish anti-Zionists in Israel

    For nearly as long as Palestinians have resisted their displacement, small groups of Jews have joined them. Ran Greenstein's 'Zionism and Its Discontents' brings to life the complex, often contradictory story of those Israelis who saw Palestinian and Jewish liberation as one and the same.  Zionism and Its Discontents: A Century of Radical Dissent in Israel/Palestine (Pluto Press, 2014) Solidarity with Palestinians facing eviction, expulsion and home demolitions has been a cornerstone of radical left-wing Israeli activism over the past decade. The Israeli Committee Against Home Demolitions raised international awareness of Israel’s ongoing forced displacement of Palestinians. Anarchists Against the Wall faced…

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  • ‘How can this monkey be talking about an ideology that developed in Europe?’

    ‘We are progress and modernization, freedom and equality, ‘peace and love.’ And they, what are they?’ On the history of the painful relationship between the Israeli Left and Mizrahim. By Ron Cahlili (Translated from Hebrew by Orit Friedland) The common wisdom is that Mizrahim and the Left are like oil and water, and that the two shall never meet. This is odd, because a lot of the immigrants who came to Israel from Islamic countries in the 1950s, and from Iraq and Egypt in particular, were Communists. That is, lefties. Thanks to them, says Sami Michael [prominent Israeli writer of Iraqi…

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  • Matzpen and the story of two ads

    A strange historical coincidence had it that on the same day, September 22, 1967 – three months after the Six-Day War, with most of the Israeli public still intoxicated with euphoria – two very different political ads were published in Israeli dailies. One came from the most radical and demonized group in the political fringes, while the other was a product of the most respected members of the elite. In Yedioth Ahronoth, 57 of the leading cultural figures in Israel signed a petition that read: The Land of Israel is now in the hands of the Jewish people, and just as…

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  • Saying goodbye to Akiva Orr

    We have very few role models in the Israeli Left – few that we can follow their footsteps, few torches to light a dark and lonely path, few lights to pave the way. Aki was one of those, and now with him gone, the road seems a little darker. By Leehee Rothschild I’ve been sitting and staring at this photo for the past few minutes, trying to put together some words to go along with it. The sentence that keeps repeating in my mind is “This is exactly how I felt when Tanya [Reinhart] died.” I suppose it is quite an…

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  • Akiva Orr, co-founder of Israeli radical left Matzpen party, passes away

    Akiva Orr, an activist and writer, who helped form the Israeli anti-Zionist socialist party 'Matzpen,' passed away this week. His ideas, which can be viewed in the documentary on the history of Matzpen (below), challenged Israeli society and influenced generations of activists.  This post has been updated and expanded. Akiva Orr, author, co-founder of the Israeli anti-Zionist socialist political party, ‘Matzpen,’ and one of the most well-known figures in Israel's radical left, passed away this weekend. Matzpen was a radical and controversial political party that opposed Zionism as a colonialist movement and called for an alliance between Israelis and Palestinians. The…

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  • Akiva Orr on J14: 'The longest journey starts with one small step'

    Over the years of writing and wrestling with Israel/Palestine, Akiva Orr has become a supportive figure. Born in 1930’s Berlin, Orr has lived the entirety of Israel’s existence. From Eric Fried to Joe Slovo, Akiva can speak for days about his personal relationships with some of the most interesting revolutionary leaders of the late twentieth century. It is not Akiva’s circle of friends rather his work on the ground in Israel/Palestine as a founding member of Matzpen which is most fascinating. Orr wrote Max Blumenthal and me an email this morning in reference to our latest piece about Israel's tent protests. It is…

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  • Co-Founder of radical left party speaks on Israel's wars with Egypt

    Speaking with Akiva Orr is a humble encounter given the gravity of his experience on the ground in Israel/Palestine. Born in 1930’s Berlin, Orr has lived the entirety of Israel’s existence. From Eric Fried to Joe Slovo, Akiva can speak for days about his personal relationships with some of the most interesting revolutionary leaders of the late twentieth century. It is not Akiva’s circle of friends but rather his work on the ground in Israel/Palestine as a founding member of Matzpen which is most fascinating.  Last summer, Max Blumenthal and I sat down with Akiva Orr. The topic was the…

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