Anarchist hero Murray Bookchin was a Zionist who whitewashed Israeli colonialism and war crimes
Murray Bookchin is something of a saint in the anarchist community. His ideas on social ecology and what he termed “libertarian municipalism” and “communalism” have influenced generations of self-declared leftists, and he was frequently cited as an ideological force behind the anti-globalization and Occupy Wall Street movements.
Bookchin became especially influential in Kurdish circles after Abdullah Öcalan, the imprisoned leader of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), adopted his ideas to advance a vision of “democratic confederalism,” a vision his followers later attempted to implement in northeast Syria — with the help of the US military.
What is not often mentioned, however, is that — like many of his anarchists and “libertarian socialist” peers — Bookchin was very soft on imperialism, and in some cases downright apologetic.
Specifically, Bookchin was a Zionist who publicly whitewashed and even rationalized Israel’s crimes against humanity. He also frequently demonized independent post-colonial governments in the Global South, echoing imperialist propaganda and chauvinistic myths about countries targeted by the United States for regime change.
In 1986 Bookchin published a liberal Zionist screed that sounds like it could have been written by a neoconservative New York Times pundit today. The essay — which is reprinted in full below — uncritically rehashes Hasbara talking points, erases the history of the ethnic cleansing of indigenous Palestinians, and blames neighboring Arab states and “Arab irredentists” for the failure of peace initiatives.
Bookchin’s essay betrays a racist view of Arabs, as inherently authoritarian, blood-thirsty anti-Semitic hordes. This hero of the anti-communist left depicts independent Arab nations as the true “imperialists” in the Middle East, and likens anti-imperialist leaders in the region to US-backed right-wing military juntas in Latin America.
This jingoistic outlook on the Global South might also explain why Bookchin’s proposed solution to halting the carnage of the mass-murdering capitalist machine was to move to an almost entirely white community in Burlington, Vermont and organize some community…