A Historic Junction: The Israeli left after October 7 – Winter 2024

Sally Abed, Yael Berda, Eli Cook and Joshua Leifer in Dissent Winter 2024

After more than two months of intensive bombardment, Israel’s war in Gaza continues to exact a terrible human toll. As of this writing, Israeli forces have killed close to 20,000 Palestinians, the majority of them civilians. According to the United Nations, roughly 1.8 million people, or 80 percent of Gaza’s population, have been internally displaced since the war’s start. Within Israel, an atmosphere of tension, fear, and anger prevails. Massive billboards and banners draped across high-rises announce, “Together, We Will Win.” Civilians and uniformed soldiers alike walk the streets armed with M-16s. Yet discontent with the government’s conduct of the war has also begun to simmer. Hamas and other Palestinian factions continue to hold at least 120 Israelis hostage, but the Benjamin Netanyahu administration often refers to returning them as only a secondary priority. Against this backdrop, and despite mounting repression, left-wing Israeli organizers and anti-occupation activists have begun to return to the streets. Their demand: a ceasefire and a deal to free all the hostages. On December 6, I spoke with three left-wing Israeli activist-thinkers about the challenges facing the Israeli left right now. —Joshua Leifer