Reviewed by Joshua Leifer in +972.(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 down Israeli military bulldozers. The Sheikh Jarrah Solidarity movement brought thousands of Israelis to East Jerusalem for weekly protests against evictions. Left-wing Israeli and international activists from various groups can be found alongside Palestinians facing forced displacement and home demolitions in the Negev, the Jordan Valley, and the South Hebron Hills.
That activism has a history. The destruction of entire villages and the removal of Palestinians from their land was part of the practice of Zionism long before Israel’s founding. And for nearly as long as Palestinians have resisted their displacement, small groups of Jews have joined them.
The urgency of present political demands, however, often buries the history of past struggles. And without historical consciousness, today’s activists risk repeating the mistakes of their predecessors. Ran Greenstein’s Zionism and Its Discontents: A Century of Radical Dissent in Israel/Palestine remedies this amnesia, providing a useable past for activists and scholars fighting for peace and justice between the river and the sea. (read more)