Middle East

Oct 19, 2012

‘Making beer is a form of resistance’: brewing West Bank tensions

Beer brewers in Palestine lost many of their customers when the Israeli walls went up. But one defiant ale maker says it's all part of a resistance fight for freedom.

Matthew Clayfield

Journalist, critic, screenwriter and playwright

The most famous section of the Israeli-West Bank separation barrier is also the shortest: the eight-foot-tall concrete slabs festooned with anti-Zionist graffiti, the vast majority of it written, somewhat tellingly, in languages other than Arabic, make up only 6% of the structure’s total length.


29 thoughts on “‘Making beer is a form of resistance’: brewing West Bank tensions

  1. SoAnyway

    No ant-semitism at all to worry about? “The occupation came first, the anti-semitism followed”???

    What about the the second class status of Mizrachi Jews in Arab lands over the past 500 years, the rabid Nazi Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, the convenient scapegoating of the “Zionist Entity” by generations of the corrupt Arab ruling class who find anti-Jewish racism very handy for deflecting the anger of the masses.

    And no reason whatsoever for Israelis to be a teensy bit edgy about imported kegs?

    A bit of stretch surely? Nevertheless it is heartening to hear that mainstream Palestinians are taking positive steps towards their future, despite the cynical provocations and warmongering of their leadership.

  2. Tom Greenwell

    Fascinating article – thanks.

  3. Kevin Herbert


    In my view,there’s no such thing as ‘anti-semitism, which is a Zionist (Thomas Herzl) late 19th century confection to curry pity for the Zionist cause.

    There’s only racism..it the same for all peoples..why should a small group of Jews i.e. the Zionists, have the right to create a loaded term for racism against them.

    Isn’t racism in itself exactly the same evil against any minority?

    Careful in your answer…you’re on the shaky ground of a race supremacist i.e. someone who sees their suffering as automatically more important than the suffering of other minorities.

  4. SoAnyway

    Anti-semitism is the name for the most ancient and vicious form of European racism. Racism is itself a misnomer, being based on last century eugenicist misunderstandings of genetics. Nowadays most Australians are proud of our culture’s Judaeo-Christian heritage, although the virus of classical anti-semitism still occasionally finds a refuge in people with conspiracist leanings and an unhealthy, obsessive preoccupation with Jews and Israel. This is particularly odd coming from Anglo Australians who have no ancestral connection, mythology, language or culture to justify their colonialist appropriation of Aboriginal land.

  5. Kevin Herbert


    If you’re relying on Daniel Goldhagen’s widely debunked premise that the most ancient & vicious form of European racism is ‘anti-semitism’ (aka ‘racism’), then you’re at loggerhreads with the great majority of Jewish scholars, including Raoul Hilleberg the accepted leading global expert on the genocide against European minorities by the Nazis, as well as the widely respected Dr Norman Finkelstein et al. Both these reknowned Jewish scholars commented that Goldhagen’s attempt to contruct a centuries old narrrative of entrenched European racism against Jews only, reflected very poorly on the scholastic standards of the Harvard history department who’d approved his thesis, as well as on Goldhagen himself. In short, Goldhagen’s work is considered by the majority of Jewish scholars to be racist tosh.

    As a general comment, your absence of any supporting data for your views, is emblematic of a bigot’s response.

    Your fatuous use of moral relativism in regard the current Australian population’s lack of an ancestral connection to this land,is most revealing.

    Either quote your sources for your view, or apologise for your bigotry.

  6. Mike R

    The articles by Matthew Clayfield and Jack Davies are fascinating in that they illustrate the complexity of the Israel/Palestine situation by relating on the ground discussions with protagonists from both sides. It makes a refreshing change from the mono-dimensional opinion pieces that we use to be regularly subjected to by commentators safely ensconced on the other side of the world from the conflict.

    Kevin, you are at it again.

    Your opening salvo “If you’re relying on Daniel Goldschlager’s..” is an obvious attempt to verbal SoAnyway . Who knows what SoAnyway’s opinion of Goldshlager’s book or whether has read of or even heard of the book?
    As you point out Daniel Goldschlager’s book regarding the complicity of the everyday German people in the holocaust has been rightly condemned for its biases and inaccuracies and poor scholarship by Holocaust historians of all persuasions whose views on Israel are highly divergent.
    Its relevance to the existence or non-existence of anti-Semitism is limited.

    Kevin, your red-herring-manship ,as distinct from your scholarship, is much to be admired.

    As for your view regarding the non-existence of anti-Semitism.

    Anti-Semitism describes a particular form of racism which involves an irrational hatred of Jews. It has other connotations due to its historical prevalence and geographical diversity and the etymology of this form of racism also includes words like pogrom and ghetto that originated from the Jewish experience in Europe over many centuries.

    Kevin, are your objections to the term based on your belief that that the hatred of Jews is not irrational (i.e. the Jews deserve every misfortune and every calamity that has befallen them) or that the hatred of Jews does not or has not ever existed? This is not a rhetorical question and I would be interested in Kevin further elucidating his views regarding the non-existence of anti-Semitism.

    As I have discussed with Kevin in several of our previous interminable exchanges on Crikey,the term anti-Semitism originated by Wilhelm Marr almost two decades prior to Herzl’s rise to prominence, so your claim that it was manufactured by Herzl is bizarre.

    Interestingly you have again, as you have done several times in the past, referred to Theodor Herzl as Thomas Herzl. The only Thomas Herzl I can find using a Google search is a Tom Herzl on Facebook who resides in Austria. I will warn him that you are gunning for him for coining the term anti-Semitism and provoking the current turmoil in the Mid-East.

    As for the chicken and egg argument advanced by Jaradat in the above article itself. The implication that the state of Israel is the cause of anti-Semitism suggests that If Israel was eradicated then the level of anti-Semitism would revert back to the days prior to the establishment of the state of Israel in 1948 ( or back to the levels seen in Europe pre Herzl -see pogroms). These indeed were the good old days for the Jews.

  7. Kevin Herbert

    Mike R: zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

  8. Mike R

    Kevin, I was puzzled by your response to my question as to your reasons for the objecting to the term anti-Semitism. I originally thought the use of a series of ‘z’s was simply meant to convey a degree of boredom. This seemed reasonable as it took you several days to formulate your monosyllabic response at a rate of less than one character per hour. Did you agonize over the number of ‘z’s and continually edit and re-edit your response worrying whether it was too verbose or conversely too brief?

    However maybe your response was more profound than I first thought. Subjecting your response to sub-textual analysis to search for a hidden meaning I realize that your use of the letter ‘z’ being the final character in the alphabet was actually indicative of your struggle to find a final solution to the Jewish question as to whether the Jews brought their well-documented misfortunes upon themselves.

    But using the principle of Occam’s razor, I could be over-interpreting and you were just falling asleep at the keyboard. Sweet dreams Kevin and send my regards to Tommy Herzl.

  9. SoAnyway

    Love your response Mike R!

  10. Kevin Herbert

    Mike R: you’re suffocating under the weight of your irrelevant attempts at wit.

    You’ve conveyed nothing in your posts save for the fact that you have nothing of substance to offer.

    Maybe you can enlighten us as to what SoAnyway was basing his claims upon? It’s noteworthy that apart from repeating his/her facile,discredited Israeli Government talking points,we’ve heard nothing from him,/her since.

    Why don’t you explain what SoAnyway is trying to convey to Crikey readers….with supporting documentation.

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