For deserts covered with olive trees
I also want to recommend Facing the War, which first appeared back in 2009 but only really kicked off in the last few months. It comes from, I guess you’d call it, an anti-Stalinist, libertarian Marxist position. Most posts are snippets from the archive, but there are some pieces of original commentary, such as this wise one on the fruits of the Arab spring. I have recommended Ross Wolfe’s the charnel-house (focusing on anti-capitalist theory and the history of the Soviet avant-garde) a few times before, and it has really fascinating stuff and a very nice look, but suffers from the killer combination of tiny grey-on-black font and incredibly wordy posts. The CST publish a nice obituary of Cyril Paskin, a veteran of the 62 Group and unsung hero of UK militant anti-fascism. (Minor quibble: Balham is not in South East London!)
Indeed, it is the theme of absurdity that most powerfully underscores Camus’ understanding of Jews, Judaism, and Israel. At the political and existential level, Camus felt a visceral connection with the absurd predicament of the young Jewish state. It was a political bond insofar as many on the French left, from whom Camus was estranged, had grown deeply anti-Zionist in the wake of the Suez War. In 1957, he publicly affirmed his sympathy and support for Israel. His reasons still echo today: Not only must Europe accept Israel’s existence as the only possible response to the continent’s complicity in the Final Solution, but Israel must also exist as a counter-example to the oppressive rule of Arab leaders. The Arab people, he declared, wished for deserts covered with olive trees, not canons. Let Israel show the way.
A naïve hope, certainly, but one that suggests that Camus’ attachment to Israel was existential: His plea for cooperation and collaboration between Jews and Arabs in Israel echoed his pleas to his fellow pied-noirs and Arabs in Algeria. In fact, Camus had flown to Algiers in 1956 to urge a civilian truce between Arabs and French Algerians. His desperate claim that Arabs and European settlers were “condemned to live together” proved wrong, of course. They instead concluded they were condemned to kill one another—a conclusion, were he alive today, he would urge both Israelis and Arabs to avoid while there is still time.