While the actual events surrounding Israel’s raid of the Gaza flotilla are under debate, there’s little doubt that the event—along with the Gaza blockade policy—has generally degraded Israel’s public image. Unfortunately, many in the progressive movement and leftward in the US and Europe perceive Israel as little more than a theocratic bastion of Western imperialism that harbors no resistance against government policy. That’s because the country’s long, vibrant tradition of dissent groups—from established human rights NGOs like B’Tselem to radical groups like Anarchists Against the Wall—get near-zero exposure in either the mainstream or leftist media in the West.
You’ll find solid proof of Israel’s underground movements in two dynamic and criminally undersung documents: David Massey’s 2002 anthology It’s All Lies: The Fusion of Resistance and Creativity in Israel—Leaflets, Underground Press and Posters and Liz Nord’s 2006 documentary Jericho’s Echo: Punk Rock in the Holy Land.
Massey’s oversized, spiral-bound 100-page collection spans from pioneering early-‘70s groups like the Israeli Socialist Organization and the cleverly named Sephardic org The Black Panthers through to the many draft resistance, anti-cop, and anti-capitalist crews that established themselves throughout the ‘80s and ‘90s. It includes a CD’s worth of Israeli punk bands from the early-‘90s Left Bank scene, including Dir Yassin and the Astroglides. Meanwhile, Nord’s 75-minute feature picks up the chronicling from the late-‘90s onward, including performances and interviews with punk bands ranging from the more well-known Useless ID to the more militant Nikmat Olalim, the all-female Va’adat Kishut, and even the rightist Retribution. Along with the great live footage, Jericho’s Echo features insightful interviews with scene figures who recount everything from getting psychiatric deferments from Israel’s mandatory army service to simply getting by in the country’s cities and towns. Both the book and the film show evidence of an important yet little-known politico-cultural temperament in Israel, one of the most highly criticized and misunderstood countries in the world.
It’s All Lies: The Fusion of Resistance and Creativity in Israel—Leaflets, Underground Press and Posters (16.3 x 11.6 inch spiral-bound book)
Jericho’s Echo: Punk Rock in the Holy Land (DVD)