The leftist hooligans who attack Jews in Judea and Samaria are not anarchists. Anarchism proclaims the right of people to live in communities as they wish, including the right to live without aliens. Anarchism also rejects the state’s jurisdiction over empty land. A group of Jews settling an empty hill and refusing entrance to Arabs is a perfectly legitimate community in anarchism. The early twentieth-century anarchists in Russia and Ukraine were very supportive of Jews, often joining Jewish self-defense teams during pogroms. The anarchist army of Nestor Makhno was the only force during the Russian Civil War which severely punished perpetrators of pogroms.

Realistic anarchy is not antinomial: obviously, societies have to regulate the use of the radio spectrum rather than allow dozens of stations to take the same frequency, or pollution would result. Anarchy demands that the legislation be substantially consensual and legislative power absent; that’s Shoftim, the biblical system of judges.

Decades ago, the U.S. Supreme Court asserted that burning of the American flag is protected as freedom of expression. At the time, American soldiers were dying under the very same flag. One state’s legislature acted cleverly: it reduced the offense for beating flag-burners to a misdemeanor punishable by a $25 fine. The logic was brilliant. When a state fails to protect its values, it must allow citizens to act on their own. It is common in Israel to see Arabs harassing Jewish citizens, especially the elderly and females. The only viable response is countering the Arabs physically; verbally assaulting them is pointless. But such an action got decent, courageous Jews into jail. It is easy to stop an Arab’s harassment: kick him lightly, wait for him to strike back, shoot him, and publicize the affair. But the state is like a dog in the manger: unable to enforce justice, it bars its citizens from enforcing it.

A state’s first obligation to its citizens is their defense. Once a state fails to meet its fundamental obligation to protect, it has no moral right to rule over its subjects. For two years, the Israeli government has failed to protect Sderot against Kassam rocket fire from Gaza. The residents of Sderot need feel no loyalty to the state which fails to protect them, even though it has adequate resources. Just like a person assaulted in the streets is entitled to fight to protect himself when there is no nearby policeman to enforce the law, so the residents of Sderot—or all Jews—are entitled to fight the Arabs. Israel cannot commit a greater ignominy than to prevent the Jews from retaliating for the Arabs’ attacks. Jews do it better. We can answer fire with fire. The Israeli government might not want to expand the conflict (even though Hamas works to expand it with longer-range rockets). Fine, we need not launch rockets from Tel Aviv. But nothing in any moral or legal doctrine allows the Israeli government to prevent Jews from firing rockets at Gaza from Sderot. We can make better rockets than the Arabs. We can kill Arabs more efficiently than they kill Jews. We can stop the Arab violence, if only the government would stop messing around.

Many Jews are only too happy to cede responsibility. They mumble, “Next year, in Jerusalem!” instead of taking an air ticket. Their prayers are an abomination, and the fact that the netherworld did not crack open below them stretches the limits of divine mercy. There are enough citizens willing to take matters into their own hands.

Given the strength of the Israeli police apparatus, even an organization the size of early Etzel wouldn’t exist for long. Jewish terror against the Arabs, however, proved so effective in 1930 that not using it now is a crime. The terror can be carried out without organization, by grassroots cells of two to three people. A few hundred Arabs killed on Israeli streets may quash the violence in Gaza. And if not? Still, there will be a few hundred Arabs gone.

anarchy of grassroots violence