Israel/Palestine social protests

Submitted by mojo.rhythm on July 26, 2011

[admin: thread formerly titled 'Israelis take to the street, protesting rising prices!']

A video on the story from The Real News can be found here.

Here's an article on the story from The Independent:

Young Israelis in tent-city protests over rising prices

By Matthew Kalman, in Jerusalem

Friday, 22 July 2011

Israeli consumers, frustrated after years of spiralling food and housing prices, burst on to the streets of Tel Aviv this week with a popular protest that has transformed one of the city's smartest neighbourhoods into a hippie-style campsite.

Students and other demonstrators pitched hundreds of tents along Rothschild Boulevard, more famous for its Unesco-protected Bauhaus-style architecture and European-style cafes, to protest about rising prices that they claim are forcing young people out of the city.

The organisers are demanding government action to calm the inflated housing market that has seen rents rise in Tel Aviv by more than 60 per cent in four years. Protestors have also starting camping out in Jerusalem with other tent cities springing up from Beersheba in the south to Haifa and Kiryat Shemona in the north.

News of the protests spread through social media, echoing a successful Facebook campaign last month when consumers forced down the spiralling price of dairy products.

Critics have accused the government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of being in thrall to a handful of economic oligarchs who effectively control much of Israel's economy.

"The Israeli public – in all fields – is captive to forces with narrow interests," said an editorial in the daily Maariv newspaper.

In Jerusalem, 40 demonstrators occupied the garden of a home in the exclusive Kfar David neighbourhood. One focus of the protests is the large number of city-centre dwellings built for and bought by wealthy foreigners who leave them empty for most of the year.

A rally on Saturday near the Habima Theatre in Tel Aviv will be the first test of the movement's political muscle. "Israel's government continues to disappoint us, and we feel betrayed," said Daphni Leef, the founder of the protest movement. "The struggle is moving on to the next level. We call on all the tent cities to arrive at Habima Square for a rally that will make the upper echelon shake."

"It's our nation, and it's time to give it back to the people," she added.

Israelis earn on average about 100,000 shekels (£18,000) a year and spend between a half and one-third of their salaries on housing. Food and other costs have also spiralled in recent years, making Tel Aviv the most expensive city in the Middle East.

Many politicians visited the tent cities to show support for the protest but were turned away. Police intervened after one demonstrator poured a bottle of beer over Ron Huldai, the mayor of Tel Aviv. [LOL!! :D]

Samotnaf

11 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Though - in my opinion - it's fine to make a thread specifically about this, it should be pointed out that this has been covered, mainly by Mark, in The Tunisia Effect - from this post, put up 4 days ago, onwards. Probably you missed it.

Ed

11 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Wow, will be interesting to see how this plays out, both internally in Israel and with the movements going on just over the border.. I thought the second video about the Israelis and Sudanese migrants sleeping in the same tents was touching, racism in Israel is quite stark so it's definitely a good development..

Also thought the woman's (Inbal) comments in the first video were massively revealing about some of the obstacles the movement has to overcome.. saying that the middle class/ashkenazi are the most oppressed and the government only helps the weakest is just madness.

Like everywhere I guess, being middle-class just isn't what it used to be (i.e. a university degree and a while collar job doesn't mean you'll have anything serious to show for it in terms of pay, pensions, security etc). Those who would've been comfortable in the past aren't nearly as much now and this seems to come out in a variety of contradictory ways ("I went to university, why do I have to do low-paid unskilled work?", "We need unity against the government" "Everyone forgets about the white middle class, the weakest get everything" etc).

I got the feeling that this woman seemed to think that Safaradi Jews and migrants have jumped the 'natural' queue (the one she would've been at the front of). Obviously that sentiment has to go but in Israel it's particularly embedded, especially along ethnic lines.

Still a massively interesting development.. cheers for everyone who put thse videos up..

Anarchia

11 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

For whatever its worth, I've noticed a number of my more-or-less apolitical Israeli friends talking about this on Facebook, and its been nothing but glowingly positive.

Tojiah

11 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Some of my facebook friends, the more radical leftist ones, are negative about the main Rothschild Boulevard protest, at least. The main complaint is the current unwillingness of the majority of them to connect with previous, mostly non-Jewish housing struggles.

Mark.

11 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Update from the +972 site

Netanyahu’s “emergency solution” sends social justice protesters surging into the streets

The prime minister’s speech galvanised the demonstrators, who set out on a series of protest actions across the country. Roads were blocked in Tel Aviv and in Haifa, and two protest camps previously demolished by Tel Aviv authorities were put up again, in Levinsky Park and in the Hatikva neighbourhood. Levinsky park is the largest public space of Tel Aviv’s migrant, illegals and refugees quarter, while the Hatikva neighbourhood is the quintessential Tel Aviv working class area and a Likud stronghold for many years. The mother-camp on Rothschild Boulevard sent out solidarity delegations of several hundred to both camps, emphasising all were part of the same struggle. Meanwhile, a Jewish and Palestinian joint camp was set up in the highly sectarian city of Akko, while on the road from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem the top leadership of Israel’s national Medical Association continued their hunger strike as they marched from their headquarters to the prime minister’s office.

Tojiah

11 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

See? I was just about to post that! I can vouch for the writer, he's somewhat liberal but you can trust his coverage.

Mark.

11 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Anarkismo has a report here on Saturday's demo in Tel Aviv, along with recent AATW actions. I'm not sure it really adds much new about the housing protests though.

Mark.

11 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Arab residents set up tents Wednesday in the northern town of Baqa al-Gharbiyye, thereby joining the nationwide public protest against skyrocketing housing prices in Israel. 

The activists, including the city's Public Committee and a local youth movement, were also protesting against the destruction of Arab homes and rise of land prices...

http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4101149,00.html

Tojiah

11 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I can't quite find a source for this in English, but an Israeli media watchdog noted that all the weekend newspapers (they come early over there), especially the business press, is calling for more progressive income tax, capital gains tax, etc. The Israeli bourgeoisie must be shitting their pants.

Tojiah

11 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Again, can't find a source for this in English, but the Finance and Internal Security Ministries have cut a deal, to be signed next week, raising the wages for starting policemen to NIS 7000 (~$2000). A clear move to strengthen the moral fibre of policemen (and maybe encouraging new recruits) in the face of rising social unrest.

(Link from Israel Broadcast Authority website)

Mark.

11 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Netanyahu does not have many cards left to play. His way out may be a war – and we should be ready for it, and reject it

Netanyahu’s magic hat is emptying quickly. Unlike his last term, he failed in buying the students for a few slices of plzza, and his attempt to preempt the “stroller protest” by parents, planned for today, was particularly pathetic: He offered to lower the bus fare of a parent with a stroller by 50%. The offer was received with appropriate derision. The fact that the leader of the trade unions, lackluster Ofer Eynee, joined the protest belatedly, and the jump-on-band-wagon manouver by Tzippi Livni – she was seen marching with the striking doctors today, after a silence longer than that of Ehud Barak – must have made Netanyahu sweat even more.

I’m hearing from several quarters that Netanyahu has only two rabbits left in his hat. One of them is the release of captive soldier Gilad Shalit, who has become a sort of celebrity in Israel. It’s not at all clear this will end the protests, and the manouver becomes complicated because it requires the agreement of Hamas, which, for its own part, is in no rush….

The other rabbit is going to a splendid little war. Or, if not a full-fledged war, a massive operation which looks just like the real thing. This schtick rarely fails. Israeli air force planes circled over Gaza last night, and in general the IDF seems to be heating the Gaza sector in the last few weeks. And if we’ve already mentioned Ehud Barak, then it’s worth noting he flew again to the US last night, for another meeting with the American leadership. What for?

I don’t know. I do know, however, that security officials in the north have received an official warning from the government (Hebrew) that September is going to be hot. Possibly a war, possibly against the Palestinians, possibly against the Israeli Palestinians, possibly against Hizbullah…

http://972mag.com/in-case-of-a-war-we-should-resist/

Samotnaf

11 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

If there's a war, I'd have thought the reasoning behind it would certainly not just be the tent city protests by any means: it'd be part of the global rulers' strategy to divert attention away from class conflict generally, and from the global austerity/social control etc. attacks that the rulers are inflicting on us everywhere. Plus a way of destroying fixed capital and regenerate the economy. Doubt that this war will be a small one: over the next year or sooner it could go nuclear - though bit by bit they'd have to build up the propaganda war, eg about the atrocities of the opponents (how the sides line up is another question) to justify this.

Tojiah

11 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Samotnaf

If there's a war, I'd have thought the reasoning behind it would certainly not just be the tent city protests by any means: it'd be part of the global rulers' strategy to divert attention away from class conflict generally, and from the global austerity/social control etc. attacks that the rulers are inflicting on us everywhere. Plus a way of destroying fixed capital and regenerate the economy. Doubt that this war will be a small one: over the next year or sooner it could go nuclear - though bit by bit they'd have to build up the propaganda war, eg about the atrocities of the opponents (how the sides line up is another question) to justify this.

So... there would be war between Israel and Lebanon, say, to divert the attention of the Thai working class from austerity measures? I don't really understand your reasoning here.

Samotnaf

11 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Amongst loads of discussions over the past months or more, the possibility of a world war or at least something very significant in terms of war has been constantly brought up as a way of diverting the class struggle (your use of the Thai example belittles my comment, since obviously Thailand so far has not had any significant global influence). And I'm not talking about one with Lebanon - Iran is more likely. Or somewhere else. And maybe it'll build up over a longer period than I've suggested, but it's definitely a serious option for the ruling class. Is that hard to understand?

Tojiah

11 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Okay, fine, do you think it will divert the Chinese working class if there's a war between Israel and Iran?

What is hard for me to understand is where you get this idea that world leaders are even able to coordinate their actions in such a Machiavellian manner, or that there is any need for that to explain current events. None of the previous world wars were that well planned out.

Samotnaf

11 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I wasn't trying to claim that the rulers have a well-planned strategy (the anarchy of capitalist social relations obviously mitigates against it) - just that war on a grand scale is an option. And clearly some of the world's leaders do co-ordinate. And I didn't mean to imply that if there was a war in the Middle East it would stop there: I'm sure China has an interest in proxy wars - and these could escalate if it seems useful. There are obviously other reasons for war and other things other than war to divert the class struggle (I think Loren Goldner pointed out that the US might consider giving a helping hand to a Chinese Lech Walesa, for example).

But this is getting away from the topic: since Israel has a war every few years ( and is in constant war with the Palestinian territories), now - with the class struggle there beginning to spread, surely the next war they have will have to be more serious than previous ones that had little to do with internal contradictions (btw, just before the war with Lebanon in '82, wasn't there a big "black panther" movement amongst young Sephardi Jews in Israel...? Do you think that that influenced the Israeli state to go to war at that time ?).

Tojiah

11 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Samotnaf

But this is getting away from the topic: since Israel has a war every few years ( and is in constant war with the Palestinian territories),

Inaccurate at best. It has a sort of colonial subcontractor relationship with the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank, and while hostile to the Hamas government in the Gaza Strip, isn't consistently at all out war with it (although as the article suggests, they do seem to be escalating hostilities lately.
Samotnaf

now - with the class struggle there beginning to spread, surely the next war they have will have to be more serious than previous ones that had little to do with internal contradictions (btw, just before the war with Lebanon in '82, wasn't there a big "black panther" movement amongst young Sephardi Jews in Israel...? Do you think that that influenced the Israeli state to go to war at that time ?).

Actually, the Black Panthers had already been mostly coopted into electoral politics in the early '70s, mere years after their outbreak.

Mark.

11 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

[youtube]Ti50WWnPP3s[/youtube]

Tens of thousands of Israelis took to the streets Saturday night, in demand of affordable housing and social justice.

Protest marches were held in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Haifa, Ashdod, Beersheba, Nazareth, Kiryat Shmona, Modiin, Hod HaSharon, Netanya, Kfar Saba and Ashkelon. All marches culminated in rallies in each city, held under the banner of "Israel demands an affordable future."

Activists in the "tent city" on Tel Aviv's Rothschild Boulevard, which is the heart of the housing protest, were visibly excited: "There's a feeling that what will happen tonight has never been seen before, especially when it comes to non-political issues," Jonathan Levy, a protest organizer, told Ynet.

[…]

Thousands of people converged on Rothschild Boulevard ahead of the protest march. As the march began, protesters were chanting "The people demand social change" and "an entire generation demands a future," and waving signs reading "Game over," "housing, education, health, food – not for the rich only," "The people demand social justice" and more.
 
In Jaffa, dozens of Arab and Jewish protesters rallied for the cause, carrying signs in Hebrew and Arabic reading "Arabs and Jews want affordable housing," and "Jaffa doesn’t want bids for the rich only."

In Jerusalem, nearly 10,000 are marching towards the prime minister's residence, where they will stage their protest rally. Like the Tel Aviv, the Jerusalem rally will feature various speakers and organizers said they want to illustrate that "this is one socioeconomic battle over the nature of the State of Israel."

[…]

About 10,000 people gathered in Haifa and are marching towards the city's Horev Center. The Haifa police have blocked off several roads to facilitate the march, said to stretch nearly half a kilometer. 
 
In Ashdod, more than 1,500 people rallied and began marching towards city hall. About 3,000 people gathered in Beersheba and 150 rallied in Ashkelon.
 
In Kiryat Shmona, 1,000 people gathered for a protest rally under the banner of "equal conditions for the periphery."

[…]

Police sources estimated that 120,000 people were taking part in the protest nationwide.

http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4102005,00.html

rooieravotr

11 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Mass protest again: "150.000 take to the streets" Jerusalem Post
"Masses march for social change", Ynet
"More than "100,000 take to the streets in biggest housing protest yet", Haaretz

Interesting bits of info here and there. For instance, from the Jerusalem Post article, this:

In Jaffa, dozens of Arab and Jewish protesters rallied for the cause, carrying signs in Hebrew and Arabic reading "Arabs and Jews want affordable housing," and "Jaffa doesn’t want bids for the rich only."

Tojiah

11 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Al Jazeera in English are reporting it, but don't feel the need for a live blog, yet. I hear that the police is trying to remove protesters from a main crossing in Tel Aviv, I wonder how much violence they will be willing to apply.

rooieravotr

11 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I don't quite know how it is in British or American or any other country's media, I have seen some scattered things, sometimes through Libcom posters mentioning them... but the Dutch media is saying absolutely nothing about the Israeli protests for a full two weeks. Total silence. Only a little piece on ultra-orthodox Jews attacking Gay Pride - but without mentioning Gay Pride protesters' support for the housing protests...Imagine the reaction to the same kind of protests in, for instance, Turkey, or Italy...

Even worse, left wingers, radicals, revolutionaries are keeping an almost compete silence about thse events as well. Outside of Libcom - almost nothing. A few pieces on WSWS, 9 and 30 July. An article on Dutch Indymedia, reposted from a news site. A thing on Anarkismo. Not much more. Again, imagine these events happening in other countries...

I think libertarian communists should raise an outcry here. The left wing neglect is bordering on scandalous.

Mark.

11 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

[youtube]RUlkCmRYJ2c[/youtube]

[youtube]6i6JKSGEs8Y[/youtube]

rooieravotr

11 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Thanks, Mark, for these videos. I understand RT is a Russian, English-language news channel, a kind of Aljazeera or CNN? Anybody knows more about this channel? They seem well-informed, on things that are under-covered in ther media, like these protests.

redsdisease

11 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

rooieravotr

Thanks, Mark, for these videos. I understand RT is a Russian, English-language news channel, a kind of Aljazeera or CNN? Anybody knows more about this channel? They seem well-informed, on things that are under-covered in ther media, like these protests.

I've always wondered about this. When I lived in DC, they would always have pretty good coverage of protests that we had.

revolut

11 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

rooieravotr

Thanks, Mark, for these videos. I understand RT is a Russian, English-language news channel, a kind of Aljazeera or CNN? Anybody knows more about this channel? They seem well-informed, on things that are under-covered in ther media, like these protests.

More like Aljazeera than CNN, in the sense that's linked/funded by the national-State.

Samotnaf

11 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I wrote

btw, just before the war with Lebanon in '82, wasn't there a big "black panther" movement amongst young Sephardi Jews in Israel...? Do you think that that influenced the Israeli state to go to war at that time ?

Tojiah replied:

Actually, the Black Panthers had already been mostly coopted into electoral politics in the early '70s, mere years after their outbreak.

Got it wrong then, but wasn't there a massive social movement of non European Sephardi jews in Israel in the months (perhaps as much as 20 months) before the war in Lebanon; I can't believe I imagined it - I know I smoked a lot of wacky backy back then, but I don't think I drifted that far away from reality...Remember speaking to an Israeli about it, late 1982.

That RT video is interesting - particularly the connections being made between Arabs and Jews, but also because of the anticipation/preparation for the rulers' possible moves towards more overt war than usual. Are social movements (strikes, demonstrations etc.) explicitly repressed by legal moves every time there's a war there or is it just down to the "all pull together" ideology?

Mark.

11 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

rooieravotr

I don't quite know how it is in British or American or any other country's media, I have seen some scattered things, sometimes through Libcom posters mentioning them... but the Dutch media is saying absolutely nothing about the Israeli protests for a full two weeks. Total silence. Only a little piece on ultra-orthodox Jews attacking Gay Pride - but without mentioning Gay Pride protesters' support for the housing protests...Imagine the reaction to the same kind of protests in, for instance, Turkey, or Italy...

From the +972 site:

So, suddenly Israel isn’t a story anymore?

When I got home last night from what was probably the largest demonstration in Israel since the first Lebanon war, I checked my usual websites to see how it was covered.

I also checked my usual two international papers, the New York Times and the Guardian sites. But there was nothing. Oh well, might be too early. I’ll check in the morning.

This morning, 7 hours after the demo ended, 10 hours after it began, nothing to be found on the homepages of both respectable outlets. Not a word.

Despite being  a leftie, I’ve always believed that there is some truth to the claims that international media focuses on Israel and the conflict much more than on other conflicts – just as bloody, just as unjust – if not more.

So when 150,000 Israelis, a huge number even percentage-wise, protest the cost of living, as they do in Madrid and elsewhere – suddenly it’s not a story? When it comes to Israel, it’s not interesting? We’re only occupiers, right? What kind of news editors are you guys holding up there? Seriously, are you telling me this isn’t a story?

If you follow the link there's more discussion in the comments below the article.

rooieravotr

Even worse, left wingers, radicals, revolutionaries are keeping an almost compete silence about thse events as well. Outside of Libcom - almost nothing. A few pieces on WSWS, 9 and 30 July. An article on Dutch Indymedia, reposted from a news site. A thing on Anarkismo. Not much more. Again, imagine these events happening in other countries...

I think libertarian communists should raise an outcry here. The left wing neglect is bordering on scandalous.

There's also very little coverage on English language Arab / Middle East blogs. Maybe the story doesn't fit very well with world views sympathetic to Palestinian nationalism.

-----

+972 report and photos from the protests last night

The housing and social protests tonight reached a huge crescendo, with throngs flooding streets in over 10 cities across the country Israel. Haaretz is reporting roughly 150,000 people around the country in Hebrew (with a more conservative estimate of over 100,000 in English).

Compared to the estimated 20,000 to 30,000 who demonstrated last week, the number of protesters around the country may have more than quadrupled...

AFP: Israel PM creates task force after prices protests

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday ordered the creation of a task force charged with finding ways to alleviate the cost of living, a day after huge protests.

At least 100,000 people took to the streets in cities across Israel on Saturday night in the latest show of force by a protest movement that has exposed deep anger in society about the cost of living and income disparity.

[…]

Even as Netanyahu met with his cabinet, members of the Israeli Medical Association doctors' union gathered outside parliament as part of their ongoing protest in support of better wages and working conditions.

And media reported that activists were gathering support for two protest actions -- a general strike on Monday that has already gained the backing of the local authorities' union, and a plan for a mass withdrawal of cash from banks on August 8 to protest against high banking and credit card fees.

The protests are the largest demonstrations over social issues that Israel has seen at least since the early 1970s when thousands of people, led by a group called the Black Panthers, took to the streets to protest against racial discrimination suffered by Mizrahi Jews of Middle Eastern descent...

ynetnews: social activists - the revolution is here

baboon

11 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

RT's an english-language Russian news station that projects the views of Russian imperialism in much the same way, but a little cruder, than foreign language British or American news organisations. It has good domestic reporting and its international coverage can appear quite incisive in that it takes or allows to be expressed, a pro-"radical" point of view against the usually western regime in question.

I would think that the scale of these protests in Israel make the question of war less rather than more likely.

Tojiah

11 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Samotnaf

Got it wrong then, but wasn't there a massive social movement of non European Sephardi jews in Israel in the months (perhaps as much as 20 months) before the war in Lebanon; I can't believe I imagined it - I know I smoked a lot of wacky backy back then, but I don't think I drifted that far away from reality...Remember speaking to an Israeli about it, late 1982.

I really don't know. Wasn't around back then myself, and most of the lefty "histories" refer to the responses to the war rather than to what came before it: political assassination, Sabra and Shatila, Begin resigning, etc.
Samotnaf

That RT video is interesting - particularly the connections being made between Arabs and Jews, but also because of the anticipation/preparation for the rulers' possible moves towards more overt war than usual. Are social movements (strikes, demonstrations etc.) explicitly repressed by legal moves every time there's a war there or is it just down to the "all pull together" ideology?

Keep in mind that Israel has been under Emegency Rules since its inception (taken almost verbatim from the British Mandate code), so they don't need any specific provisions when a war comes about; however, legal and extra-legal crackdowns on social movements have been on the rise, particularly in the past year or so, before all of this happened. Which goes to show how effective the government is (not).

Khawaga

11 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

There's also very little coverage on English language Arab / Middle East blogs. Maybe the story doesn't fit very well with world views sympathetic to Palestinian nationalism.

Yeah, there's hardly any. Some of the stuff I've seen has been along the lines of: their interests is against the Palestinians, so fuck them (3arabawy being one of the proponents of that line). Folks that are all about the wc/labour strikes and have decent analyses all of a sudden revert to nationalism. And it completely fits with the discussions I've had with plenty of leftists from a few Arab countries. Sadly, the idea of Israel has poisoned the minds of even the Arab left; regime propaganda accusing Israel of everything has worked so as to block any possible solidarity between Israelis and nationals of Arab countries (though Palestinians are at least willing to work with Israelis; other Arabs are still on the Khartoum line from 1967). What is really frustrating is that folks in Egypt, e.g., do not see the connection between the regime now accusing protesters of being "foreign agents" (which typically mean Israel and US) and their own views on Israel and Israelis.

Alf

11 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

It looks to me that what's happening in Israel is 'historic' in the same way that the movements in Egypt, Spain, Greece, etc are. Although there have always been strikes by Israeli workers in defence of their class interests, they have not often been very visible; this movement, while being more heterogeneous in class terms like its 'partners' elsewhere, is a much more obvious piece of evidence that class contrasts do indeed exist in Israel; not only that, it shows that there is a clear link between the aggravation of social conditions for the majority and the state's war policy. On one of the videos linked above it was pointed out that the state is pouring a highly disproportionate amount of money into building up settlements in the occupied territories rather than increasing the housing stock in the rest of Israel. But more generally the Israeli proletariat pays very heavily for the state's war effort.

Equally significant is the beginnings of participation in the protests by Arabs and Jews alongside each other. Obviously there are still huge ideological obstacles against class unity both in Israel and the Arab countries, but the outbreak of the movement gives internationalists a concrete argument against the war propaganda on both sides. In this we can expect no help whatever from the leftists, who are almost unanimously committed to supporting war against Israel.

I agree with Tojiha re the Black Panthers. They were a phenomenon of the 1970s. Delving into my archives I pulled out a copy of Flashpoint, , magazine of the Israel Palestine Socialist Action Group (UK), dated 1971-2. (this was a group which split from left Zionism and then generated a Trotskyist and a libertarian/internationalist wing before breaking up. Obviously I was in the latter wing) The cover shows a demonstration by the Black Panthers and there is an article about them inside. I don't know about any social movements in Israel prior to the Lebanon war in the early 80s, although there was at least one huge demonstration in Tel Aviv against the massacres in the refugee camps which had been supervised by Sharon and co.

I agree with Baboon regarding the link between war and social struggles. Whatever Netanyahu might try in order to divert attention from the social question, this movement can open up a period in which it begins to become increasingly difficult for the Israeli bourgeoisie to mobilise for war.

Samotnaf

11 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Would have thought it's well within the bounds of the rulers' considered options to allow or somehow encourage a terrorist atrocity to divert concentration away from these, and other possible, movements. Perhaps not a war, but something so far unpredicted.

Alf

11 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I would not discount that.

Mark.

11 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

From +972:

The real importance of the tent protest

Last week, my colleagues Joseph Dana and Mairav Zonszein reported about the harsh treatment some of protesters got from the hand of the police following the previous social justice rally in Tel Aviv. While I don’t ignore the importance of such incidents, they might make one miss the essence of the tent protest.

Unlike in Syria or Libya, where dictators slaughter their own citizens by the hundreds, it was never oppression that held the social order in Israel together, as far as the Jewish society was concerned. It was indoctrination – a dominant ideology, to use a term preferred by critical theorists. And it was this cultural order that was dented in this round of protests. For the first time, a major part of the Jewish middle class—it’s too early to estimate how large is this group—recognized their problem not with other Israelis, or with the Arabs, or with a certain politician, but with the entire social order. With the entire system. In this sense, it’s a unique event in Israel’s history.

This is why this protest has such tremendous potential. This is also the reason that we shouldn’t just watch for the immediate political fallout—I don’t think we will see the government fall any time soon—but for the long term consequences, the undercurrent, which is sure to arrive.

Al Jazeera has an in-depth piece on the protests here. There are more reports on the CrowdVoice site. Twitter feed: http://twitter.com/#search?q=j14

[youtube]_7gWkaRGNA0[/youtube]

[youtube]PQgc_q_6zZE[/youtube]

rooieravotr

11 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Khawaga:

Some of the stuff I've seen has been along the lines of: their interests is against the Palestinians, so fuck them (3arabawy being one of the proponents of that line).

Do you have a specific source? Has he actually said something about the Israeli protest of these days? I know (from my Trotskyist days) that this used to be the analysis: not much to be expected of the Jewish-Israeli workers, because of the advantages the Zionist state gives them; only military defeat and revolutionary upheaval i the Arab world will change that. However, I would 'like' to see them defend that line NOW... The only thing (except from a few WSWS pieces that are not bad, relatively speaking), it is a deep, ominous, almost total, silence from Trotskyist, and generally leftist, circles, some anarchists not excluded. This has to be changed, and this Libcom thread is e delight in that respect, a breath of fresh air.

Tojiah

11 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

rooieravotr

only military defeat and revolutionary upheaval i the Arab world will change that.

Some would say that that is exactly what happened. :)

rooieravotr

11 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Indeed! :D But STILL most of the left is fast asleep.... However, ROAR MAG, a site dedicatd to the many protests and revolts sweeping many countries - but mainly Spain and Greece - has now a big enthousiastic but not simplistic article on the protests in Israel. And one Dutch newspaper finally published a piece on its website on the protests - first thing I saw in Ducth papers...

Alf

11 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Except that for the leftists,the idea of the 'Arab revolution' has always been tied up to the idea of a victorious war over the Zionist state.

With the current movements in the 'Arab' world, there is still a potential for the strengthening of those forces who consider that an 'Arab revolutionary regime' (ie some kind of left government, especially in Egypt) could and should wage war against Israel more effectively than the old regime which was compromised by its ties to America. On the other hand there is also potential for the development of a real movement against war and for international class solidarity.

This would be a good moment for an internationalist statement - ideally one signed by people in Israel and in neighbouring states, although I know how difficult (and perhaps unlikely)that would be.

Arbeiten

11 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

yes i really think the way the left reply to this uprising is going to be some sort of litmus test for 'anti-imperialism'

rooieravotr

11 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Found this article, not too bad, considering its source, Green Left in Australia.
As for Arbeitens remark,

yes i really think the way the left reply to this uprising is going to be some sort of litmus test for 'anti-imperialism'
.

Yes, unfortunatly, Arbeiten will probably be right in this prediction. Of course, such a 'test' would be ridiculous, it woud make solidarity conditional upon good behaviour of the protesters. Solidarity cannot and must not wait till the moment that any mvement develops the 'crrect'position whatever that might be. These protests are justified AS THEY ARE, and to be supported as such.

Having said that, developing an explicit anti-occupation position, developing solidarity betwee workers of Jewish and Arab background, recognising that the latter are oppressed much more openly and viciously, and that any kind of privileging one group of workers above the other should be opposed - WITHOUT falling in the trap of becoming an addendum to Palestinian struggle, WITHOUT becoming Pelstinian nationalist-by-proxy (as many of the left are) - would strengthen the protests enormously. Without that, the government can much more easy outflank them, use chauvinism against Palestinians to rally Jewish workers around the flag, using excuses to repress themovement using 'security' arguments. 'Anti-imperialism'is not the issue. Solidarity between workers, of whatever background, on whatever side of borders and walls, is.

Valeriano Orob…

11 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

rooieravotr

Found this article, not too bad, considering its source, Green Left in Australia.
As for Arbeitens remark,

yes i really think the way the left reply to this uprising is going to be some sort of litmus test for 'anti-imperialism'
.

Yes, unfortunatly, Arbeiten will probably be right in this prediction. Of course, such a 'test' would be ridiculous, it woud make solidarity conditional upon good behaviour of the protesters. Solidarity cannot and must not wait till the moment that any mvement develops the 'crrect'position whatever that might be. These protests are justified AS THEY ARE, and to be supported as such.

Having said that, developing an explicit anti-occupation position, developing solidarity betwee workers of Jewish and Arab background, recognising that the latter are oppressed much more openly and viciously, and that any kind of privileging one group of workers above the other should be opposed - WITHOUT falling in the trap of becoming an addendum to Palestinian struggle, WITHOUT becoming Pelstinian nationalist-by-proxy (as many of the left are) - would strengthen the protests enormously. Without that, the government can much more easy outflank them, use chauvinism against Palestinians to rally Jewish workers around the flag, using excuses to repress themovement using 'security' arguments. 'Anti-imperialism'is not the issue. Solidarity between workers, of whatever background, on whatever side of borders and walls, is.

I agree with this and consider it the best position, as difficult as it surely is.

rooieravotr

11 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

An exemplary case of refusing to speak for support of the movement unless it explicitly fights for Palestinian rights. Put here, not because I agree - I understand the sentiment behind it, but I disagree strongly with the conclusion - , but for exemplary educational value, so to speak.

Tojiah

11 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

rooieravotr

Having said that, developing an explicit anti-occupation position, developing solidarity betwee workers of Jewish and Arab background, recognising that the latter are oppressed much more openly and viciously, and that any kind of privileging one group of workers above the other should be opposed - WITHOUT falling in the trap of becoming an addendum to Palestinian struggle, WITHOUT becoming Pelstinian nationalist-by-proxy (as many of the left are) - would strengthen the protests enormously. Without that, the government can much more easy outflank them, use chauvinism against Palestinians to rally Jewish workers around the flag, using excuses to repress themovement using 'security' arguments. 'Anti-imperialism'is not the issue. Solidarity between workers, of whatever background, on whatever side of borders and walls, is.

There are already connections being made with Palestinians and Arabs, both inside Green-Line Israel ("Meanwhile, a Jewish and Palestinian joint camp was set up in the highly sectarian city of Akko..." in Social justice protesters take to the streets, 972 Magazine), as well as in East Jerusalem (ongoing protests of both Jews and Arabs against evictions of the latter from the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood), it seems. If this becomes strong enough, it will hopefully be difficult for the Khartoumites to cut the cross-ethnic ties of working-class solidarity.

rooieravotr

11 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Yes, I've seen indications of the connection being made as well. Encouraging indeed! By the way, what exactly does "Khartoumites" refer to in this context?

Tojiah

11 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I was referring to Khawaga's comment from earlier, which in turn refers to this:

The Khartoum Resolution of September 1, 1967 was issued at the conclusion of an Arab League summit in the wake of the Six-Day War. The resolution, which formed a basis of the policies of these governments toward Israel until the 1973 Yom Kippur War, called for: a continued state of belligerency with Israel, ending the Arab oil boycott declared during the Six-Day War, an end to the North Yemen Civil War, and economic assistance for Egypt and Jordan. It is famous for containing (in the third paragraph) what became known as the "Three 'No's": "no peace with Israel, no recognition of Israel, no negotiations with it.

Mark.

11 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

A more sceptical article about the protests from +972:

The tent protest: neither social justice, nor revolution

-----

ynet: thousands to go on strike for social change

Israel's first Facebook-organized general strike is expected to take place Monday, with over 23,500 people who virtually announced that they will not come to work in demand for "social justice."

The strikers are to gather at Tel Aviv's Yarkon Park and "organize a 'Hyde Park' of opinions". "We will sit and talk about social justice," the event's initiator, Tzvika Besor, said, adding that "If any employer fires someone, he'll have to deal with 22,000 people. I hope everyone goes on strike."

-----

[youtube]PRfIejtBTOs[/youtube]

Valeriano Orob…

11 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

The comments are very vague tho and no word on palestinians. Perhaps because if there is one they fear being labelled as anti-israel state?

Khawaga

11 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

rooie

Do you have a specific source? Has he actually said something about the Israeli protest of these days? I know (from my Trotskyist days) that this used to be the analysis: not much to be expected of the Jewish-Israeli workers, because of the advantages the Zionist state gives them; only military defeat and revolutionary upheaval i the Arab world will change that. However, I would 'like' to see them defend that line NOW... The only thing (except from a few WSWS pieces that are not bad, relatively speaking), it is a deep, ominous, almost total, silence from Trotskyist, and generally leftist, circles, some anarchists not excluded. This has to be changed, and this Libcom thread is e delight in that respect, a breath of fresh air.

Here's what Hossam wrote, and in conversations with him I had while living in Egypt he supported the same line. And I've heard lots of others say the same thing.

3arabawy

Israeli students can protest high prices of housing rent. Israeli doctors can go on strike over work conditions. But not a single sector in the Israeli labor and student movements would voice criticism of what their state is doing to the Palestinians few kilometers away from where they are. The Israeli working class is a hopeless case. It’s totally under the control of Zionism from the inception of the state of the Israel. Forget about a “revolution” in apartheid Israel. Yes, they are engaged in class struggle, but all Israelis are united at the end of the day in their material, economic, political interests versus the Palestinians.

This apartheid state must be dismantled. And the Egyptian working class holds the key to liberation…

Source.

Entdinglichung

11 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Khawaga

rooie

Do you have a specific source? Has he actually said something about the Israeli protest of these days? I know (from my Trotskyist days) that this used to be the analysis: not much to be expected of the Jewish-Israeli workers, because of the advantages the Zionist state gives them; only military defeat and revolutionary upheaval i the Arab world will change that. However, I would 'like' to see them defend that line NOW... The only thing (except from a few WSWS pieces that are not bad, relatively speaking), it is a deep, ominous, almost total, silence from Trotskyist, and generally leftist, circles, some anarchists not excluded. This has to be changed, and this Libcom thread is e delight in that respect, a breath of fresh air.

Here's what Hossam wrote, and in conversations with him I had while living in Egypt he supported the same line. And I've heard lots of others say the same thing.

3arabawy

Israeli students can protest high prices of housing rent. Israeli doctors can go on strike over work conditions. But not a single sector in the Israeli labor and student movements would voice criticism of what their state is doing to the Palestinians few kilometers away from where they are. The Israeli working class is a hopeless case. It’s totally under the control of Zionism from the inception of the state of the Israel. Forget about a “revolution” in apartheid Israel. Yes, they are engaged in class struggle, but all Israelis are united at the end of the day in their material, economic, political interests versus the Palestinians.

This apartheid state must be dismantled. And the Egyptian working class holds the key to liberation…

Source.

what about the Moroccan working class?

Khawaga

11 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Entdichlingung

what about the Moroccan working class?

Exactly...

rooieravotr

11 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Khawaga... Thanks a lot for this info. That is more horrible than I dared to fear in my nightmares.
May I add that this is, for me as en ex-Trotskyist at least, one of the most enlightening forum threads I have seen on Libcom. Thanks, all : )

rooieravotr

11 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Interesting view of Jews Sans Frontières. One conclusion:

Even though at this stage it seems that it has neither the language, nor the social consciousness, to challenge apartheid, this protest movement challenges for the first time the deeper dimension of power that makes apartheid both necessary and possible. Any victory that it will have will therefore lead to more favorable conditions for challenging Israeli apartheid.

Mark.

11 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

For readers of Spanish - there seems to be a debate going on in Madrid about whether the 15M movement should actually be supporting the Israeli protests, link here.

Ayer estuvimos en la asamblea general de Sol y se aprobó nuestra propuesta de llevar a los barrios el debate sobre nuestra postura como movimiento en apoyo a la creación del Estado Palestino y el apoyo a su lucha, denunciando la ocupación y el bloqueo de Gaza, la violación de los derechos humanos y el incumplimiento por parte de Israel de las resoluciones de la ONU.

Por otra parte también se aprobó que se lleve a los barrios el debate sobre el apoyo a los indignados de Tel Aviiv y que solo sean apoyados por el movimiento 15M si abren un debate en sus asambleas y toman una postura como movimiento sobre la cuestion palestina, denunciando clara y abiertamente la ocupación, el bloqueo a Gaza y el fin de los asentamientos … Solo en estas condiciones el movimiento 15M podría apoyarles …

The proposal here is that the Israeli protesters should only be supported if they "take a position as a movement on the Palestinian question, denouncing clearly and openly the occupation, the blockade of Gaza and [calling for] the end of the settlements".

One of the responses:

Sobre los comentarios:
Bueno, la verdad es que la manipulación discreta viene a ser una constante del movimiento..¿Por qué hay que apoyar a Palestina, si se supone que no arriamos banderas y eso va en contra del “ideario” del 15-m? ¿Palestina, un estado corrupto gobernada por fundamentalistas religiosos, no viola los derechos humanos ni mata civiles inocentes? ¿No sería más apropiado y más conforme con el “ideario” criticar a ambas partes, poniendo mayor enfasis, eso sí, en Israel y su política genocida?

En fin, una pena que los tics del izquierdismo rancio se hayan apropiado del discurso..Ahora a los indignados israelíes, les queremos adoctrinar en lo que tienen ellos que estar indignados….¿Tendremos nosotros que hacer ahora caso a los fachas que nos conminan a que condenemos a Bildu?…Inaúdito

Edited to add: this is also being discussed on alasbarricadas

baboon

11 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Press TV, Iranian english-language news, reports last night that 150,000 municipal workers in Israel were on a one-day strike. It also reported that tens of thousands of protesters were on the streets yesterday.
Reports from elsewhere (French TV) suggest that the Netanyahu government has been taken aback by events, from first of all dismissing protests out of hand a few days ago to now saying words to the effect that they have serious concerns and have sacked a finance minister.

baboon

11 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

What's the deal here - Israeli workers fighting for their own class interests is not positive and they should be supporting UN resolutions and a Palestinian state?

Arbeiten

11 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

As I said, this is one we have to watch out for. It poses difficult questions. Are we to poop this movement straight away because they haven't woken up out of ideological slumber in an instant? It is really difficult and I don't have the answers. Maybe there will be a gradual realization of shared interest between Israeli workers and palestinians. But it is an ideological uphill struggle. Remember there is strong national consciousness in israel, they all do national service for at least 3 years, the constant coverage of security issues, etc, etc.

I don't know many israelis, but the ones I do no all really dislike Netanyahu and Lieberman. I think the way Likud deals with this is going to be very interesting. If they go in hard (which, as we know, the israeli government likes to) it could really spark something more interesting.

Angelus Novus

11 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

"Marx believed that the conditions of life and work of the proletariat would force the working class to behave in ways that would ultimately transform society. In other words, what Marx said was: We’re not talking about going door-to-door and making workers into ideal socialists. You’ve got to take workers as they are, with all their contradictions, with all their nonsense. But the fact that society forces them to struggle begins to transform the working class. If white workers realize they can’t organize steel unless they organize black workers, that doesn’t mean they’re not racist. It means that they have to deal with their own reality, and that transforms them. Who were the workers who made the Russian Revolution? Sexists, nationalists, half of them illiterate. Who were the workers in Polish Solidarity? Anti-Semitic, whatever. That kind of struggle begins to transform people."

"Worker's Have to Deal With Their Own Reality and that Transforms Them."

Arbeiten

11 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Angelus Novus, though I love that quote (I really do think it's great), I think the author gives Marx too much credit. in the rhetorical strategy of 'in other words' Glaberman really makes something that apparently Marx has said into something much better. He is a C L R James contemporary right? C L R James would do that a lot also. Though of course in Capital Marx does say, ‘labour cannot emancipate itself in the white skin where in the black it is branded'. But ya know, anyway that is a side issue, it is a good Glaberman quote!

Entdinglichung

11 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

from http://www.workersliberty.org/israelprotests

The last few weeks has seen the most powerful protest movement in Israel’s history on issues not relating to the Arab-Israeli conflict. On 30 July, a series of huge demonstrations took place across the country, involving 150,000 people (Israel’s population is slightly over one tenth of the UK’s). The movement has been so powerful that it has won words of support from centrist Kadima party, and even prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu has conceded some ground. Kadima, like all liberals, love to "vote with the wind." They jump on the band wagon when they see a movement has public support. The fact that such heartless opportunists are supporting the protests is proof of their power.

It started when a small group set up tents to protest the poor housing situation in Tel Aviv, on the highly expensive Rothschild Boulevard. The media, which in Israel tends to be a little less anti-protest than the British media, quickly reported on these events, and other direct action protests mushroomed dramatically. Many people who are active in other struggles joined in setting up tents at Rothschild Boulevard, to the point where the protest dominated this major street in central Tel Aviv.

Some in the media claimed that the protesters were all middle class, called them cry babies, spoilt kids etc. Some may be the children of middle-class parents, but privilege has not necessarily trickled down. In reality these protesters, many of whom work for the minimum wage or just above, are very much working class.

The focus at this point was on housing. Tel Aviv residents suffer similar problems to those in London, and Netanyahu is a disciple of Thatcherism. As the movement has grown, the focus has broadened to take in other demands around education, healthcare and other social services. Activist Daphni Leef said: "We do not want to replace the government, we want much more than that - to change the rules of the game and say loud and clear: Social services are rights, not commodities."

After the first few days of these direct actions, a demonstration was called in Tel Aviv for 24 June, attracting 20-30,000 people. On that day the protest movement replaced the Israeli-Palestinian war as the main focus of the news. The trade unions publicly came out in support of the movement and helped to organise a new series of protests. Most people expected a similar turn out to 24 July, but this time 150,000 came out – the equivalent of a million demonstrators in Britain. The movement has seen protests of 8,000 in Haifa and 10,000 in Jerusalem. In cities like Nazareth, protests have involved both Jews and Arabs.

The exact political opinions of those who began the movement are unclear, but at this stage there is not an immediately apparent overlap with activists in the anti-occupation movement. However, some members of the Anarchists Against the Wall group have taken part in the tent city protests.

In the big demonstrations, a number of Israeli revolutionary socialists have come out of the woodwork. A far-left exists in Israel (the Committee for a Workers' International, led by the Socialist Party, has a section there, named Ma'avak, and other groups also operate) but left groups tend to be focused on the Palestinian issue. It is mainly due to the role of Hadash, Israel’s largest left-wing organisation (at the centre of which is the ex-Stalinist Communist Party), that red flags and other socialist imagery have been seen on the demos. Some of the chants have been revolutionary, and a headline in Haaretz used the word "revolution" to describe the movement.

The Meretz party, (essentially liberal social democrats), were also present. But the average protester seems to have been the young Israeli who is at best semi-political, not a member of any group and shaky on the Palestinian issue. Whenever the country is attacked by a bomb or missile, they tend to get scared and retreat into their right-wing tortoise shell, and give at least passive support to the government against the Palestinians. But when the situation is calmer, this mass of the secular Jewish population leans left on this question too. How the Palestine issue and the current movement will inter-relate remains to be seen.

Entdinglichung

11 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

http://www.labourstart.org/cgi-bin/show_news.pl?country=Israel&alllanguages=1&languagename=English&langcode=en&lang=English

Tojiah

11 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

baboon

have sacked a finance minister.

I could find no evidence of this. I think a ministry official resigned, but the minister is still in his post. Source?

Meanwhile, Ministers, MKs say W. Bank building can solve rent crisis (JPost), which will certainly force this movement to take some stand on the Occupation, or be polarized by it:

The Knesset Land of Israel Caucus called for the government to adopt construction in the West Bank as a solution to the housing crisis on Tuesday, the second day of a three-day marathon Knesset discussion on the National Housing Committees Bill.

Caucus and coalition chairman Ze'ev Elkin (Likud) explained at a caucus meeting that 42 ministers, deputy ministers and MKs from the opposition and coalition signed a letter imploring Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to favor settlement construction

"We hope to get more signatures and pass 61," he added. "I am sure our call will be a major part of the discussion on housing, and Judea and Samaria will be a solution to the problem, as it was during the previous housing crisis, in the early 90s."

sabot

11 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Khawaga

Entdichlingung

what about the Moroccan working class?

Exactly...

Ditto to this. I was just there a month ago and didn't have a clue what the hell was going on.

rooieravotr

11 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Finally, some serious sign of thinking on the subject from within the SWP, though, significantly, NOT in the most recent Socialist Worker. Here's Lenin's Tomb, with a somewhat more positive analysis than I had come te fear. Still, it does not quite satisfy me. Any ideas?

Mark.

11 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

baboon

What's the deal here - Israeli workers fighting for their own class interests is not positive and they should be supporting UN resolutions and a Palestinian state?

Regarding the discussion in Madrid there's a reference to 'Palestina toma la calle', which seems to be a group involved in Palestinian solidarity work that is trying to make an issue out of a 15M youtube video produced in support of the Israeli protests. This appears to be striking a chord with the usual 'anti-imperialism' of the Spanish left. There are some voices of reason as well though.

Khawaga

11 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Sabot

Ditto to this. I was just there a month ago and didn't have a clue what the hell was going on.

Well, my exactly was a reference to the Moroccan occupation of Western Sahara. But you never see the Morrocan working class being labelled with having their interests squarely aligned with the King. That is always reserved for the Israelis...

Khawaga

11 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

rooie

Finally, some serious sign of thinking on the subject from within the SWP, though, significantly, NOT in the most recent Socialist Worker. Here's Lenin's Tomb, with a somewhat more positive analysis than I had come te fear. Still, it does not quite satisfy me. Any ideas?

Typical waffle in the end. What got me was this though:

Lenin's Tomb

Because in Israel the colonial dynamic still predominates, and because the vast majority of Israeli workers have not begun to break with Zionism, and indeed many could reasonably claim to get some benefit from it, how these social antagonisms and elite fissures work out depends primarily on the regional context.

The same could, with minor modifications, be said of Egypt. "Because nationalism still predominates, and because the vast majority of Egyptian workers have not begun to break with Egyptian nationalism, and indeed many could reasonably claim to get some benefit from it, how these social antagonisms work out depends on the regional context". THis should not be lost on anyone who as followed events in Egypt the last few weeks where state propaganda has enabled SCAF to crack down on everyone. While the army evicted the families of the martyrs and activists there to support them from Tahrir, lots of ordinary working class Egyptians were cheering and egging the army on, denouncing the protesters are agents of Israel. Same thing happened with the march on SCAF that was stopped in Abasseya. The local residents had been told that thugs, sponsored by "foreign" elements (and it's always Israel), would come to create havoc. There were residents that fell for this, although the protesters were also supported by other local residents. In any case, this just goes to show how the idea of Israel, as against Egyptian national unity, completely serves the bourgeoisie. And this nationalism is extended to the Army, who apparently has the best interests of Egyptians at heart. Even though the Army has demonstrated that they've been more than willing to beat the shit out of people, imprison and torture them If there hadn't been an Israel or other imperialist boogeyman (built up over decades), it would not have been as easy to squash the protests, at least with as much support as SCAF has now.

Mark.

11 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

All over the place, pro-Palestinian activists are voicing a sharp criticism of the Israeli social justice movement: There can be no justice, they say, without raising the issue of the occupation and the beastly injustice done on daily basis to the Palestinians.

Right, but oh so wrong.

That the Palestinians suffer injustice and indignity is not in dispute – not even by the Israeli hasbara machine in its calmer moments. But to raise this issue now is to fracture the social justice movement too early.

It’s easy to sneer at the Israeli protesters. It’s also unjustified, unhelpful and downright stupid…

http://972mag.com/israel-social-camp-takes-its-baby-steps/

Khawaga

11 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

"Pro-Palestinian" activists; the willing idiots of the state. Fuck me.

Mark.

11 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

The 40 tent encampments scattered across Israel protesting for better social benefits have decided to set up a joint protest headquarters which will include a representative from each "tent city" set up throughout the country.

The representatives met in Tel Aviv University on Tuesday to discuss issues related to the growing social protest and to formulate official documents stipulating their demands on housing, welfare, education, health and economic policy. The first decision is a unified opposition to the national housing committees to be voted on at the Knesset.

"This is a rare meeting. We are finally meeting all of the tent cities representatives and talking about formulating documents, especially steps that have to do with the vote on the national housing committees tomorrow," said Stav Shafir, one of the leaders of the Tel Aviv protest movement.

"We don't want to control the spontaneous popular protest," she told Haaretz. "The fact that we, people from Rothschild Boulevard, appear constantly in front of the cameras does not mean that others aren't putting in efforts to advance the protest."

The Histadrut labor federation chairman Ofer Eini announced Tuesday that the federation will hold a rally on Thursday with thousands of workers taking part, and where speakers will discuss problems in various sectors such as housing, taxes and the cost of living.

Eini also said a Druze tent city has been erected at the entrance to the villages of Yarka and Julis. The Druze representatives are protesting the severe housing shortage in Druze villages, and are throwing their support behind the rest of the general demands brought up in other tent cities across Israel.

Meanwhile, Naftali Bennett, director of the settlers' Yesha council, visited the tent city in Tel Aviv and talked to students. The head of National Union of Israeli Students, Itzik Shmuli, said that the student welcome "any organization that joins the students, especially a body like the Yesha council, which carries significant political weight."

http://www.haaretz.com/news/national/housing-protesters-set-up-headquarter-representing-40-tent-cities-across-israel-1.376597

Yesha Council Chairman Naftali Bennett visited 'tent city' on Tel Aviv's Rothschild Boulevard Tuesday in a bid to join the protest against rising housing costs.

Bennett met with leaders of the protest and told them, "The 50,000 Israelis living beyond the Green Line in Samaria and the area of the Dead Sea are citizens like all the rest, they pay taxes and live with the same hardships."

However, he explained, the right-wing activists who want to join the movement dislike the fact that "some of the leaders of the struggle are anarchists who oppose the IDF".

"We cannot cooperate with these people, but the struggle itself is righteous and everyone shares this pain. We are not for the overturning of the government but rather a practical solution for the immediate future," he said…

http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4103293,00.html

I'm not sure what to make of the idea of settler support for the protests. I don't know how related it is but a while back Haaretz had an article on settlers backing a one state solution. I'm not sure what to make of this either.

"I have many points in common with the extreme left. I am in favor of refusing an order to dismantle settlements, they are in favor of refusing an order to serve in the territories, and both of us are against the [separation] fence. I am not frightened at the fact that there are Jews with whom I profoundly disagree on one issue but with whom I share views on other issues. But I will not enter into a political alliance with the Anarchists [Against the Wall] even though I too am against the fence. We have common ground, but beyond it we have a very deep disagreement..."

Mark.

11 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

At Levinsky Park in southern Tel Aviv on Monday, where the city’s second largest tent city has stood for nearly a week, over a hundred African migrants and refugees gathered for a discussion on the ongoing quality- of-life protests taking place across Israel.

As the sun set over the Neveh Sha’anan neighborhood, the migrants from Eritrea, Sudan, the Ivory Coast and Congo listened to representatives from the refugee assistance organization “ASAF” describe how the protests started and what the participants are demanding from the government of Israel. In a back-and-forth discussion held in English, Hebrew, Tigrinya, French and Arabic, activists and migrants discussed what, if any, role the migrants could play in the protests…

http://www.jpost.com/NationalNews/Article.aspx?id=231978

-----

It is the corner of Seinkin and Rothschild Boulevard, Friday afternoon. We and our Palestinian guests – a group of "Illegal Sojourners" in the ugly Occupation Jargon – have had a lovely day of sightseeing and swimming. Now we are on our way to be entertained lavishly by one of us who is blessed with a flat and a roof in the coveted heart of Tel Aviv. On the way there we pass a new and exciting tourist attraction: the huge tent camp which keeps mushrooming in the boulevard.

Our guests, some in pious head gear, listen attentively to the story about middle class Jewish youngsters with no place to live, to study and to work from. The tents are so many, so small. They nod in amazement, expressing sympathy or perhaps even some pleasure over the new potential for solidarity. The sharp tongued one is quick to come up with a punch line none of us would have thought of: "Hada Muchayem Lajiyin Israeliyin!" – "A refugee camp for Israelis", she exclaims.

We laugh at this smart crack. No similarity at all, to be sure – or maybe just a little something, after all. The young people of Rothschild (may Allah help them, may their protest yield fruit), are supposedly able to get up any time and move back to the grim life they were accustomed to before settling into the sizzling Boulevard. However they are condemned to life in the lower end of the Israeli chain of housing – with no property, no land and no roof of their own. Some of the women we have with us this evening –exuberant, full of curiosity and passion for fun – have been living in "real" refugee camps most of their lives. Some were born there, others got married and moved to share the fate of large families condensed into crumbling homes that were started as temporary tents at the outskirts of towns and villages in the West Bank many years ago.

[…]

The angry residents of Israel's "refugee camps" all over the country are going these days through an awakening process from the false consciousness that brought them to this tricky junction of the summer of 2011. It is not an easy process, but well worth making the effort to go all the way to the root of our problems. Those of us, who were privileged last weekend to dance, sing and hug on a Tel Aviv rooftop with our friends from the villages and refugee camps of the occupied territories, will never agree to give up the warm human contact with people we once considered enemies. Just think how many good flats could be produced with the assets wasted over the decades on fortifying the dumb concept that all non Jews are a "danger for our demography".

http://mondoweiss.net/2011/08/will-israels-tent-protesters-awaken-to-the-tents-that-came-before-theirs.html

rooieravotr

11 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Khawaga:

The same could, with minor modifications, be said of Egypt. "Because nationalism still predominates, and because the vast majority of Egyptian workers have not begun to break with Egyptian nationalism, and indeed many could reasonably claim to get some benefit from it, how these social antagonisms work out depends on the regional context"

On the whole, I tend to agree but I am not absolutely clar on one thing. What is the benefit Egyptian workers could reasonably claim to get from Egyptian nationalism, analogous to the benefits Israeli workers are supposed to get from Israeli nationalism? My question is meant seriously, not in any polemic sense. Four weeks ago I would simply have agreed with Lenin's Tomb on this, I'm afraid, so I need this debate...

Samotnaf

11 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Everyone here saying that the Palestinian question should not be brought up has ignored Tojiah's post:

Meanwhile, Ministers, MKs say W. Bank building can solve rent crisis (JPost), which will certainly force this movement to take some stand on the Occupation, or be polarized by it:

The Knesset Land of Israel Caucus called for the government to adopt construction in the West Bank as a solution to the housing crisis on Tuesday, the second day of a three-day marathon Knesset discussion on the National Housing Committees Bill.

Caucus and coalition chairman Ze'ev Elkin (Likud) explained at a caucus meeting that 42 ministers, deputy ministers and MKs from the opposition and coalition signed a letter imploring Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to favor settlement construction

"We hope to get more signatures and pass 61," he added. "I am sure our call will be a major part of the discussion on housing, and Judea and Samaria will be a solution to the problem, as it was during the previous housing crisis, in the early 90s."

You don't have to be a Palestinian nationalist and to think the Palestine situation should take hierarchical priority over other social issues to still be in favour of bringing this issue up. And it seems a section of Israel's ruling class want to use this issue to divide the movement (which, in a sense, needs to be divided - as far as I understand there are right-wing organisations that are a part of it). Every social movement is contradictory, as is every individual. You don't contribute to changing things by avoding mentioning contradictions, any more than you can make a contribution by contemptuously dismissing a social movement, judging it by dogmatic ideological points of view (eg, there were some people who dismissed the miners strike in the UK because they were in favour of work and had a semi-Stalinist for their leader). Hiding your critique of the occupation (not sure that anybody was explictly suggesting this, but some of the posts have been close to doing so) is just as bad as rubbishing the tent city movement.

Entdinglichung

11 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Khawaga

Sabot

Ditto to this. I was just there a month ago and didn't have a clue what the hell was going on.

Well, my exactly was a reference to the Moroccan occupation of Western Sahara. But you never see the Morrocan working class being labelled with having their interests squarely aligned with the King. That is always reserved for the Israelis...

it is in fact worse, most groups to the left of the Moroccan social democracy (apart from the post-maoists of Annahj Addimocrati, the trotskyist group Al-Mounadhil and the anarchists down there, as far as I know) support the official policy of the moroccan state on this question (stuff which neither Meretz or Rakach does)

Mark.

11 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Summer 2011 Social Protest in Israel: Possibilities and Challenges (AIC)

Sergio Yahni

The thousands of people who have occupied public space in the cities of Israel are not a homogeneous group and have no recognised leadership. They reject Israel’s neoliberal regime, the privatisation of public services and the intimate relationship between capital and government. Beyond this, protesters do not agree on anything.


The protest has no national leadership. No one protest camp represents another. Within the camps themselves, there exists a consensual address to address problems and concerns. Any group of activists can make decisions like any other group, and the practice of conducting meetings in which decisions are made by consensus has yet to be introduced. However, the protest has established a space that serves as a reference for the local and international press. This space is on the Rothschild Boulevard in Tel Aviv.



While media activists are camped out in the Rothschild Boulevard, this does not mean that other protesters are being represented by them. The media focus is here not only because the first group of protesters sent up camp on Rothschild Boulevard, but also as Israel’s mainstream media and politicians prefer to understand the protest movement as that of the middle class, even though most protesters are public housing tenants, single mothers, Jewish immigrants from Asia and Africa and migrant workers.



This middle class biased perspective rendered it easier for the Tel Aviv Municipality to try and forcibly evict the protesters camped out in South Tel Aviv’s Lewinsky park. The protesters here are not from Israel’s imaginary middle class, but residents of one of the city’s poorest neighbourhoods, including numerous migrant labourers. Significantly, the atmosphere prevailing in the social movement camped out in the Rothschild Boulevard and its solidarity marches convinced the municipality to desist from its eviction attempts.


The amorphous nature of this protest movement prevents it from being exploited by groups that have traditionally negotiated social protest in Israel, above all by the General Federation of Workers in Israel (Histradut), which is the majority union and possessor of the sole right to negotiate with the government and employers.



In an interview with Israel Army Radio, Histadrut Secretary General Ofer Eini, acknowledged that the union does not lead this social struggle, but stated outright that if the purpose of protesters is to overthrow the Netanyahu government, the Histradut would not participate. "We are a democratic country, we are not Egypt or Syria," said Eini.



Eini was upset primarily by the grassroots demand that any and all meetings with the government be transparent to the public. The National Union of University Students also spoke against this demand. Molly Itzik, President of the National Union of University Students, told the press that they would be "responsible adults at the time of dialogue with the government." Members of the Student Union have said that the Rothschild encampment has been infiltrated by "anarchist elements that impractically raise the demands."



The leaders of the Student Union hope that the new academic year will open with a tangible victory it can present in the student elections. Ofer Eini knows that the public demand for greater transparency in negotiations with employers and the government is a danger. In March this year the Histradut faced a wave of protests by social workers who were unwilling to accept the agreement negotiated by the organisation of workers in government and business after some three weeks of strike.



The main danger facing the Histadrut is not the Israeli government or employers, but the radical labour organisations Power to the Workers (Koach Laovdim) and Maan. These organisations are relatively new to the field of industrial relations and act to forge trade unions that horizontally represent the interests of workers, whilst the Histadrut are an organization which collaborates with both the government and employers.



Israeli President Shimon Peres intervened in the crisis on 1 August in order to fill gaps in the protest movement and convince the group of Rothschild Boulevard to jettison the demands for transparency in contacts with the government. The situation is fluid, however, and even if this group would agree to enter into negotiations with the government, an alternative protest movement leadership could decide not to accept the dictates of the union bureaucracy and to reject the interests of the National Union of Students.

The issue that everyone considers and yet nobody discusses relates to the Palestinians. Protest movement activists fear that the Palestinian issue is or will be used by the government as a weapon against them. However, in all public presentations, speakers point out that Jews and Arabs are partners in this struggle fight, although no one is willing to define the immediate, practical meaning of this statement.



Activists are also aware of the possibility that the government could choose a military provocation to deflect pressure and attention. This could be expressed in an assault on Lebanon and the occupied Palestinian territory. There are numerous protesters who believe that the killing of two Palestinians in Qalandiya on the night of 31 July was a provocation conducted for this purpose. In response to public pressure, Netanyahu stated that this killing was solely in response to military demands.

Barring exceptional developments, the groups will continue to fight together until late summer. But the division between Rothschild Boulevard and those camps situated on the social periphery, where people have no other options, will be exposed in September, when children return to school and the middle class will end their holiday rebellion. Those who will remain are those lacking all other alternatives. However, the summer of 2011 will be a watershed of ‘before’ and ‘after’ for Israel’s social movements.


Samotnaf

11 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Protesters plan more huge demonstrations Saturday night
Protesters also reacted angrily to the news that the Knesset had passed the National Housing Committee Law and blocked major junctions across the country.

http://www.globes.co.il/serveen/globes/docview.asp?did=1000670259&fid=942

baboon

11 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

On Tojiah's post 65: I heard a number of foreign news stations that night (there was nothing on the British news) and it's possible I misheard this and accept that it could have been a finance ministry official resignation. The main point however was that after initially dismissing the protests as nothing very much the state has been forced to take cogniscence of them.

On Mark's post above: the same day/night that the two Palestinians were killed in Qalandiya by Israeli forces ("for throwing stones") there was a border skirmish with Lebanon where, according to Press TV, a Lebanese guard was injured. It seems to be that at least some of the protesters are aware of such sort of diversions.

It seems like tens of thousand of municipal workers were on a one-day strike - any news on other strikes?

Khawaga

11 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

rooie

On the whole, I tend to agree but I am not absolutely clar on one thing. What is the benefit Egyptian workers could reasonably claim to get from Egyptian nationalism, analogous to the benefits Israeli workers are supposed to get from Israeli nationalism?

well, for starters, more jobs. Plenty of immigrant workers in Egypt, though not massive numbers. So against the Sudanese really. But the point is that there really is no benefit. Apart from the short term, and for very small numbers, there is nothing to gain from nationalism. Things might be hunky dory for a while, but then things will go down. When there are protests, the already existing nationalism is then used to demonize protesters.

Mark.

11 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Saturday's demo in Tel Aviv

[youtube]MBTJaieg-Rs[/youtube]

-----

Reports on twitter of fighting between settlers and protesters in Tel Aviv tonight

http://twitter.com/#!/ibnezra

http://twitter.com/#!/AbirKopty

Fighting is breaking out on Rothschild ave at the #j14 protests between protesters and settlers

Fist fights broke out as protesters from #j14 tried to remove settlers and kahanists from the Rothschild tent city

Who knows maybe the fight with the settlers will be the turning point for #j14 when protesters start talking about the occupation

According to some protesters, the settlers were preparing to go and destroy #tent48 and #j14 protesters attempted to stop them

OK #j14 protesters have now attacked settlers trying to take over the protests, why not protest the occupation now?

Official #j14 protesters are still trying to remain 'apolitical' by calming down those that want the settlers out of the demonstration

Keep in mind that the settlers were chanting for the entire day homophobic and racist slogans throughout the #j14 protest in Tel Aviv

It seems like many of the #j14 protesters simply had enough of the settler racism and reacted

How can people that are leading a 'social justice revolution' appease blatant racists screaming homophobic and anti-Arab chants?

Already the media is saying that "anarchists" attacked the settlers and not regular #j14 protesters

It was normal Israelis, not radical leftists, who actually stood up to Jewish racists screaming homophobic, racist and anti-Arab hate

Watch closely how the #j14 organizers handle this event for indications of whether the occupation will play an issue as the protests unfold

Ed

11 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Man, this stuff just keeps getting more and more interesting.. great to hear that settlers have been told to fuck off and from the video it seems like the list of issues being talked about is getting longer and longer..

You know, there are times when I really am filled with revolutionary enthusiasm.. :)

Chilli Sauce

11 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

rooieravotr

Found this article, not too bad, considering its source, Green Left in Australia.
As for Arbeitens remark,

yes i really think the way the left reply to this uprising is going to be some sort of litmus test for 'anti-imperialism'
.

Yes, unfortunatly, Arbeiten will probably be right in this prediction. Of course, such a 'test' would be ridiculous, it woud make solidarity conditional upon good behaviour of the protesters. Solidarity cannot and must not wait till the moment that any mvement develops the 'crrect'position whatever that might be. These protests are justified AS THEY ARE, and to be supported as such.

Having said that, developing an explicit anti-occupation position, developing solidarity betwee workers of Jewish and Arab background, recognising that the latter are oppressed much more openly and viciously, and that any kind of privileging one group of workers above the other should be opposed - WITHOUT falling in the trap of becoming an addendum to Palestinian struggle, WITHOUT becoming Pelstinian nationalist-by-proxy (as many of the left are) - would strengthen the protests enormously. Without that, the government can much more easy outflank them, use chauvinism against Palestinians to rally Jewish workers around the flag, using excuses to repress themovement using 'security' arguments. 'Anti-imperialism'is not the issue. Solidarity between workers, of whatever background, on whatever side of borders and walls, is.

Yeah, roo has put it really well here.

Chilli Sauce

11 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Israel's first Facebook-organized general strike is expected to take place Monday, with over 23,500 people who virtually announced that they will not come to work in demand for "social justice."

The strikers are to gather at Tel Aviv's Yarkon Park and "organize a 'Hyde Park' of opinions". "We will sit and talk about social justice," the event's initiator, Tzvika Besor, said, adding that "If any employer fires someone, he'll have to deal with 22,000 people. I hope everyone goes on strike."

Anyone know how this panned out?

Entdinglichung

11 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/news/housing-activists-add-israeli-arab-concerns-to-list-of-demands-1.376834

The organizers of the tent protest yesterday added two demands of the Arab community to the list of demands they are drafting for the committee appointed by the prime minister to deal with their grievances.

Arabs are demanding state recognition of the unrecognized villages throughout the country, especially the Bedouin communities in the Negev, and the approval of master plans that would expand local authorities' jurisdiction, to enable construction.

"These are two fundamental issues and I hope the protest organizers, who support them, will insist on them. The Arab community's main problem is the terrible housing shortage due to the absence of territory to build on," Hadash secretary general Ayman Odeh said.

Odeh and several other Arab activists met with the protest organizers at their headquarters in the tent city on Rothschild Boulevard in the last few days, debating issues regarding the Arab public.

A few days ago, Arab activists set up an encampment in the center of Taibeh and hundreds of people visit it every night.

"This is a social protest stemming from profound distress in the Arab community. All Arabs suffer from the cost of living and housing shortages," one of the organizers, Dr. Zoheir Tibi, said.

A number of Druze youngsters set up tents outside the villages of Yarka and Julis in the Western Galilee.

"We're trying to draw everyone to the tents to join the protest," said Wajdi Khatar, one of the protest initiators.

Jewish and Arab activists are organizing a large demonstration in the Upper Galilee's Kabri junction tomorrow.

"We're fighting for everything, from apartments to the rising price of electricity, said Gadi Shabtai, one of the organizers. "In the last few days, I've been receiving calls from Jews and Arabs who support the struggle and I hope this is reflected in tomorrow's demonstration."

http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/news/in-sober-and-segregated-jaffa-poor-turn-to-protest-1.376841

The Jaffa encampment is quiet and relaxed, far different from its counterpart on Rothschild Boulevard; its organizers have banned alcohol and decreed that men and women must sleep separately.

Ed

11 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Chilli, I can't find much but it looks like local government employees went on strike on that day. I found something else that said nothing much happened in the way of strike action. Did also find this amusing headline:

Facebook strike anarchistic
Recent protests clock into workplaces with thousands of employees joining Facebook groups for one-day strike. Lawyers caution of legal implications; however, some contend that 'this might be a legitimate quasi-political strike that has acknowledged precedents'

Entdinglichung, interesting finds. And very good to see Arab issues starting to be addressed.. :)

Mark.

11 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

[youtube]Eyl_r7Sz3Bw[/youtube]

Taxi drivers block main Tel Aviv road as part of Israeli social protest wave

'Stroller marches' to take place across Israel in fresh round of protests

Parents are planning marches throughout the country today to protest the high cost of raising children.

The marches will take place in Tel Aviv, Ariel and Herzliya, among other cities.

In addition, high school and college students, along with members of the Israel Scouts, plan to hold a demonstration opposite Education Minister Gideon Sa'ar's Tel Aviv residence.

[…]

Various other protests took place throughout the country yesterday, including several that involved blocking roads. Dozens of college students blocked the intersection of Ibn Gvirol and Yehuda Halevy streets in Tel Aviv - even setting up tents in the middle of the junction - to protest the Knesset's adoption of a law creating a fast-track approval process for residential construction...

NY Times: In Israel, the rent is too damn high

Dimi Reider and Aziz Abu Sarah

So far, the protesters have managed to remain apolitical, refusing to declare support for any leader or to be hijacked by any political party. But there is one issue conspicuously missing from the protests: Israel’s 44-year occupation of the Palestinian territories, which exacts a heavy price on the state budget and is directly related to the lack of affordable housing within Israel proper.

[…]

Had the protesters begun by hoisting signs against the occupation, they would most likely still be just a few people in tents. By removing the single most divisive issue in Israeli politics, the protesters have created a safe space for Israelis of all ethnic, national and class identities to act together. And by decidedly placing the occupation outside of the debate, the protesters have neutralized much of the fear-mongering traditionally employed in Israel to silence discussions of social issues.

But even as they call for the strengthening of Israel’s once-robust welfare state, the protesters are disregarding the fact that it is alive and well in the West Bank. Although some of their demands can be met without addressing the settlements (like heavier taxes on landlords’ rental income to discourage rent increases), Israel will never become the progressive social democracy the protesters envision until it sheds the moral stain and economic burden of the occupation.

[...]

If the protests continue to stir more and more Israelis out of their political despondency, Mr. Netanyahu still holds two possible trump cards: a sudden breakthrough in the negotiations to free the Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, held captive in Gaza, or a sudden escalation of armed conflict.

Moreover, the impending United Nations vote on Palestinian statehood in September imposes a deadline of sorts on the protesters. If Palestinians react by marching on Israeli army checkpoints to demand freedom, Israeli protesters will have to choose between losing internal support by siding with the Palestinians, or abandoning any claim of a pro-democracy agenda by siding with the Israeli soldiers charged with suppressing them.

Before September comes, the protesters must first secure some more earthly achievements, like rent control in Israel’s larger cities, or perhaps, as the placards demand, even bring down Mr. Netanyahu’s coalition government.

Only then could a sense of victory and democratic empowerment propel Israelis toward challenging the occupation, which remains the single greatest obstacle to social and political justice on either side of the Green Line.

Dimi Reider is an Israeli journalist and photographer. Aziz Abu Sarah is a Palestinian columnist with the newspaper Al Quds. They are both regular bloggers at +972 Magazine.

Steven.

11 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

This is exciting stuff. Thanks for all the updates. That real news video was good.

Agree with what other people have been saying about the ridiculous response of the left.

I got in a big argument with one of the leading SWP people in my union branch, whose argument was that Israel did not have a working class. I asked her who drove the buses, built the roads, looked after the children, etc and she just dodged the question and ranted about Zionism and the occupation. It's absolutely crazy. And of course none of them would say that the UK didn't have a working class even when we had an empire covering a quarter of the world.

Chilli Sauce

11 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Anyone in AF or SF working on putting out a statement from a local?

Ed

11 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

You and your fucking statements, chilli sauce! You should just make yourself a template that you can reuse every time ;)

Steven.

11 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Yeah, I think a good, in-depth analytical article (or first-hand account) would be more useful than a statement

bootsy

11 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Already the media is saying that "anarchists" attacked the settlers and not regular #j14 protesters

It was normal Israelis, not radical leftists, who actually stood up to Jewish racists screaming homophobic, racist and anti-Arab hate

Watch closely how the #j14 organizers handle this event for indications of whether the occupation will play an issue as the protests unfold

Judging by a facebook comment from an Israeli friend of mine I think it was anarchists who challenged the settlers head on. Apparently the organizers sided with the settlers, claiming the slogan 'Sudanese go back to Sudan' is a 'legitimate economic claim'. Anyway this person said they will not be participating in the tent city because of it.

Mark.

11 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

That sounds discouraging - do you know if he/she was there yesterday or is relying on 2nd hand or media reports?

-----

According to some protesters, the settlers were preparing to go and destroy #tent48 and #j14 protesters attempted to stop them

Facebook page for tent #48 - the focus of the conflict yesterday

bootsy

11 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I'm fairly certain they were there.

Mark.

11 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

+972: Jewish supremacists visit social justice protests

Ynet report

Right-wing groups such as Bnei Akiva, Im Tirtzu, and My Israel say they are marching in Tel Aviv for lower housing and staple product costs

But the protesters on Rothschild Boulevard did not appreciate the new company. "It's important to stress that they are not part of us. We did not coordinate a protest with them. They came in order to catch a free ride," said one of the protest organizers.

But others were in favor of the rightists' arrival. "We want to find solutions relevant to the entire nation. I called on the settlers to join from day one. This is a battle of the people. Right or Left doesn't matter – we want to break these definitions," one of the organizers said.

"We can't do anything without formulating a unified opinion. The people understand that (the government) is pulling a divide and conquer – for years they have been trying to create conflict between us."

[...]

Dozens of Marzel's supporters were also present, and angered protesters even more by calling out, "Tel Aviv is Jewish, Sudanese go to Sudan". Loud arguments broke out between them and the 'tent city' inhabitants, who yelled at the rightists to go home.

Housing protest: rightist tent torched - though the report looks dubious and the pic is less dramatic the headline.

baboon

11 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I take Steven's point above about the proletariat in Britain during the days of the Empire - a point I take to mean the defence of the working class against the activities of its "own" bourgeoisie. Leftism equates the two but there's been some elements of it on here.

The argument of Steven about the Empire still stands today; the states of America, Britain, France, Germany, Russia, China... all of them, are up to their necks in the blood of innocents. Israel, just like apatheid South Africa yesterday, is not a "special case" but is absolutely typical of all imperialist nations (and all nations are imperialist). Imperialism is a vital question for the working class but it can only be effectively confronted through class struggle and only as long as that class struggle tends to take an independent and deepening turn. The working class in Israel is no more complicit in the oppression of the Palestian populations than the proletariat in Britain, America, Jordan, France, Egypt and so on.

The question could also be raised about the thousands of Palestinian construction and other workers who work on building work and other stuff in the county, including new settler homes. These are workers and their common interests is in joining the class struggle and not supporting UN resolutions and different factions of the ruling class as in South Africa.

Mark.

11 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Haaretz: Housing activists hope for record numbers at Saturday protest

-----

One of the contributors to +972 on Twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/ibnezra

Settlers have left Tel Aviv and plan to return tomorrow evening for a large march attacking #j14

Setters did not come to #j14 to be incorporated into the protests. They came to get attention and start controversy. Exactly what they got

Marzel's group of settlers is the closest thing to the KKK in Israel. They were allowed to stand at #j14 & that is a point worth discussing

Since I am not part of #j14, I am raising the question. This is not criticism of the protests but a question about its nature

In Tel Aviv Liberal Zioinst circles, any criticism or questions about the direction of #j14 are not tolerated well at this point

I spoke with many #j14 protesters who wanted the settlers to leave but main organizers intervened saying that they can't decide who is there

#j14 organizers did intervene directly to say that 'they do not decide who comes to the protests' in effect allowing settlers to stay

If the overwhelming majority of #j14 protesters want the settlers to leave.Why are they still there? Who is giving them permission to stay?

I'm not sure how decisions are being made at the tent protests. I haven't seen any reports of 15M style assemblies of protesters - not that they are necessarily the perfect solution either.

Edit: Haaretz has a report on a meeting to vote for representatives at the main tent protest in Tel Aviv, but I'm still not clear from this how the meetings work.

ocelot

11 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

This from tent48

Tent No. 1948
General Assembly in Rothschild today decided that the encampment will not accept any racist messages among its participants. The protest camp is open to all people, from all religions, nationalities, sexual orientations, genders, etc. Racist will be requested, politely to change their message, or to leave.

Looks like the question raised in that earlier linked 972 article "How long can the social justice protests go on without defining what “social justice” means?" is slowly being approached.

edit: Anarkismo: Class war within neo-liberal capitalism and the rebellion ignited by the Israeli "middle class"

Steven.

11 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Pretty good interview here with photos in Vice magazine
http://www.viceland.com/wp/2011/08/the-angry-tent-cities-of-israel/

Mark.

11 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I thought this answer from the Vice magazine interview was interesting and helps to explain some of the similarities with the 15M movement in Spain - including the claims to be 'non-political' and open to people from the right as well as the left.

Do you see this struggle as a part of the Arab Spring?
You can’t ignore the Arab Spring, it’s happening all around us and it’s constantly in the media. [...] In reality, the right comparison would be to the Real Democracy Now protests in Spain – a number of the Israeli protesters were in Spain at the time and brought back some of their ideas, hence why we have the same tent cities, the same community discussions and a real urge for peaceful protest.

-----

From the Commune
http://libcom.org/library/arab-spring-israeli-summer

-----

Another interesting interview
The social order shakes: Israeli journalist Noam Sheizaf on the Israeli social justice movement

I think the protest is challenging something very important in the Israeli social order. There’s an unwritten agreement between various groups in Israeli society—I’m talking about the Jewish society. This is something that enables the entire system that we see here. So by declaring that the current social order is not suitable for us anymore, I think that the middle-class, the upper-middle class, the people who are protesting, are making a serious challenge against the structure of Israeli society. It’s more of something that represents an undercurrent in society than what you see on the surface. Because, ultimately, this protest doesn’t touch the significant political questions that we always hear about from Israel: the occupation, the future of the West Bank, the relations between Arab and Jewish citizens. But it touches on the layer beneath it that holds everything together. So, I think this is a major, major thing.

[…]

People speak about what’s happening in Tel Aviv as part of this Arab Spring. But that would be a mistake. If something is part of the Arab Spring, it is the Palestinian youth movement, the Palestinian popular uprising, which is forming right now. Israeli society is very different. And in the context of our conversation, the important thing is that, unlike authoritarian regimes, like Syria or Libya or Egypt, it was never persecution that held the social structure together, but indoctrination in Israel, as far as Jews are concerned. For Palestinians, it was persecution and oppression. [There was a] convincing of 99 percent of the Jewish public that they benefit from the current social order—and this is the best social order for them.

So, right now what we see is a [lot of people] actually saying, “I don’t see any advantage for me in this social order.” This can go many ways: it can go into a form of nationalism, or it can go to a way that says that the interests of the poor Jew in Israel are more like the interests of the poor Palestinian than those of a Jewish billionaire in Israel. This is such a radical notion that it’s even hard to explain. But these are the kind of doors that open when you challenge the social structure...

Khawaga

11 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Bit I found the most interesting (and "prromsing") from the Sheifaz interview:

If you read through the Hebrew media, you’ll notice that those attacking the protests, the most vicious attacks against the protests, are coming from the religious right—from the settlers, from their supporters, and those people are like the litmus test for society here, because if you look at the settlers, you can understand almost everything. They were awfully quiet when Netanyahu traveled to his meeting with President Abbas in Washington a year-and-a-half ago. During the so-called settlement freeze, they didn’t say a word. You’d expect the settlers to go wild about that, right? But they didn’t say a word, except for some really radical forces inside the settler movement, because ultimately they felt that this doesn’t threaten them. Right now, you can hear the entire Israeli right, the expansionist right, those who promote Jewish supremacy here, those who advocate for the colonization of land, you can see them mobilizing against these protests in a way that they didn’t mobilize before, because this [movement] is a major threat to their interests. So, that’s a good sign as well for where things are headed.

Mark.

11 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

[youtube]uf5qm-o0a_o[/youtube]

Mark.

11 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Tent48

Letter from Tel Aviv

Twitter:#tent48 / Facebook

We are a group of Palestinian Arab and Jew citizens that believe in shared sovereignty in the state of all its citizens. Instead of thinking about separation and constrains, we think of the possibility of joint existence.

Since foundation of the state – Israeli policy of divide and rule, prevents real change and produces boundaries for deep social demands. If we work together we can only benefit.

What do we want?

We want this struggle to deal with housing shortage among Arabs and Mizrachi Jews in Israel, both in large cities and in the villages.

We want to end Judaization of Arab neighborhoods and stop the “development” of neighborhoods by building luxury complexes.

We want to stop the eviction of Palestinian families as it happens almost every day in Jaffa, Lod, Ramla and elsewhere in Israel and the Occupied Territories.

We want to end the discrimination of the Palestinian Arabs in the rental and purchase of real estate, which became “legitimate” in the Israeli- Jewish society, as the “Letter of Rabbis” showed us.

We want to change the land policy in Israel, so it will address the historical justice to Palestinian population. No more land confiscation, no more house demolitions. We live here together, it’s time we start to internalize it.

We want to talk about discrimination in state institutions, education, health, culture.

We require recognizing the basic right of the Palestinians in Israel and in the Occupied Territories to set their own lifestyles.

We want to emphasize, there can be no social justice while this state occupies and oppresses Palestinians, and justice should be to all. In Addition, many of the state resources are allocated to the occupation: by establishing walls and barriers, that embitter the life of the Palestinian people, or by securing and supporting settlements. Occupation takes a lot of money, which can be used to improve the life of the Jewish and Arab population in Israel and the Occupied Territories.

Mark.

11 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Tahrir envy: an anti-occupation activist’s first thoughts on the tent protests in Israel

Almost a month in, Tahrir-envy in Israel is now at what seems to be its peak. 150,000 people took the streets last Sunday, at what must have been the biggest protests here since the protests against the “disengagement” from Gaza. For months now, a public whisper was spread through the mainstream media; why don’t the Israelis take the streets?

“Where are the masses? With its lack of ideology and values, the phenomenon of postmodernism is one reason why downtrodden Israelis choose not to rise up and free themselves of latter-day bondage. Revolution Square is empty.”

While the people of our neighboring states are getting shot en-mass in a bold attempt to dismantle their oppressing regimes, the deteriorating Israeli middle class found out they were paying quadruple the cost of Israeli produce in Europe, and they weren’t gonna take it anymore. A law against boycotts was passed, among other fascistic laws ... but the cottage cheese boycott was the one that captured the spotlight. And it wasn’t boycotted for being produced on stolen land.

But cottage cheese must have just been a symptom, along with it came protests over the rising gas prices, separate workers’ protests, including underpaid and overworked doctors, dock workers, university cleaning staff and many more. And still, no one would claim that The Only Democracy In The Middle East™ is crumbling from within. In fact, some would say the lack of public out-cry is  a shining example of its stability...

But then something happened. A young, white, higher-middle-class Ashkenazi woman was unable to pay the rent. She erected a tent in one of the most prestigious boulevards in Tel-Aviv during her semester break and demanded reasonable rent. Within a week, 130 tents were erected along Rothschild boulevard and a movement was born. All across the 1967 borders, Israelis are demanding “social justice”, and to that effect, the state has a polite, middle-class resistance on their hands.

Arab Spring minus the Arabs

Even us Anarchists couldn’t stay indifferent to the fact that the white middle class was rising up. To us, the housing protest is a great opportunity to bring Lyd, Jaffa, Ramle, Silwan and Al-arakhib to the forefront of middle-Israel, and try to connect occupation with habitation, appropriation with apartheid, and gentrification with genocide. The limits to this idea would soon be vividly illustrated to us, as our “Anarchists Against the Wall” banner and ActiveStills exhibition were torn down. We went back into our closet and came out as “Salon Mazal”, a radical info shop that somehow managed to find a way into the hearts of center-left Tel-Aviv, who were now boulevard residents.

Unfortunately, even though we were generally well-received, the most common question asked by the boulevard dwellers was “What do Arabs have to do with it?” Indeed, even though tents have popped up in 10 cities, Arabs (god forbid Palestinians) are still a non-issue (what do you call a democratic protest for Jews only?), Arabic isn’t the language of liberation (but the tent areas are called “Ma’ahal”), and not only was the Jaffa Ma’ahal taken down the day it was created, but a little birdy told me that they were urged not to write signs in Arabic by the main Ma’ahal in Rothschild.

That said, I’d like to mention the interesting steps made at uniting against oppression by the Be’er Sheva Ma’ahal that has been joined by al-Arakhib, the anti-racist efforts at the Levinsky Ma’ahal in south Tel Aviv and the latest declaration of peace in the Middle East coming out of the Tiqva Ma’ahal, also in south Tel Aviv, joining hands the the Jaffa Ma’ahal [limited by my translation]:

Arabs and Jews will march together in the Saturday demonstration: “A natural connection”

Nearing the big demonstration of the protest organizations, Saturday evening in Tel Aviv, the Jewish-Arab Ma’ahal dwellers in Jaffa announced that they’ll unite with the big ma’ahal that was erected in the Tikva neighborhood in the city. Activists in both Ma’ahals met last night and agreed to march together in the demonstration, in order to express the “cry of groups that have been expelled from the Israeli society,” in their words. Hana Aamouri, the Jaffa popular committee representative, said that “the connection with the Tikva neighborhood and other marginalized neighborhoods is natural, both in demands and an ma’ahal character. The troubles are similar and the messages are similar, more than any other ma’ahal.”

The privilege of protest

But not all is simply harmonious in the Israeli Tahrir. As always, if you want unity in Israel, you have to pick it “politically clean”. Thus the protest has managed to keep “social, not political” (which means we don’t talk about Arabs as such). We march to the museum under the banner of “the nation wants social justice”, forgetting that at least 20% of the population doesn’t identify as “the nation of Israel”, and once we get there we get our image of Woodstock, complete with the biggest names in local rock.

Mizrachi music stays in the Ma’ahals of the “periphery”. These Ma’ahals have been evicted by the police, with the usual assumption that no one will notice. Levinsky, the Ma’ahal I joined in the south of the city, is a joint protest of the marginalized south Tel-Aviv residents, the African refugees and friends. Rothschild was just too far away for the lower classes to be able to commit to and get a day’s work done. In Israel 2011, people of color have no choice but to ride the waves of a white revolution in hopes of gathering the crumbs.

Don’t get me wrong, this protest- this movement in social dynamics in Israel- is way over due. Walking Rothschild boulevard, I noticed people weren’t talking about the best parties, that hot guy, or their new mobile phone. Politics- whether they realized it or not- was the language spoken. Social concern and even compassion is the new fad.

But maybe that’s what it is- a fad. Never has a protest been so pampered by the media. Never has the media busied itself so much with making amateurish and corny musical compilations that could rival a youtube video. How long will the media talk so fondly of “our youth of the revolution”? What will it take for all this to disappear? Semester restart? September security propaganda? Boredom masked in disillusionment?

Vibrant apartheid

Back to my reality: There’s a dilemma in being an anti-occupation activist and sitting in the “Ma’ahal”. One whiff of tear gas in the Palestinian villages in the occupied territories can make you forget a whole week in tent city. Apart from the typical result of a mainstream protest, where we can expect the middle class will be lulled right back to sleep, while the the marginalized are howling in the doghouse; In Israel one must think of what happens beyond the apartheid wall.

All these strictly social-but-not-political protests are a social manifestation of apartheid mentality. If housing is the name of the game, then it’s not just about reasonable rent, mortgage, or even basic sanitation needs. As I’ve mentioned, the systematic demolition of homes and theft of land isn’t addressed by the Israelis’ revolution. Not within Israel-proper, and mums the word about them occupied territories.

Yes, there is a massive policy of privatization. Yes, people are only considered by the merit of their consuming ability. Yes, Wages stand still, while rent rockets sky high. Yes, whatever is outside center Tel-Aviv is called “the periphery”. There’s plenty of reason to stop the train in Israel, but somehow it’s never because it goes through occupied Palestinian land. Let us not mistake this display of a vibrant democracy for an actual vibrant democracy.

Mark.

11 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Never has a protest been so pampered by the media. Never has the media busied itself so much with making amateurish and corny musical compilations that could rival a youtube video. How long will the media talk so fondly of “our youth of the revolution”? What will it take for all this to disappear?

Actually one thing that has struck me is the similarity to the coverage of the 15M protests by the Spanish media, with the more liberal/left press being largely sympathetic (though often distorting the facts) and varying degrees of hostility from the right. It isn't something unique to Israel.

Edit: This might be more of a stretch, but I think maybe there are also parallels between Israel and Spain in the reactions, ranging from scepticism to outright hostility, of some longstanding activists to the new wave of protests.

-----

AFP: Israel housing activists seek 'critical mass'

Mark.

11 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Between euphoria and anarchy: Tel Aviv’s revolutionary festival

Noam Sheizaf

A midnight walk through the Rothschild Avenue protest camp

On the corner of Allenby Street and Rothschild Avenue, a Jewish supremacists’ group is conducting fierce arguments with several bystanders. I am spotting former Kahane men, Baruch Marzel and Itamar Ben Gvir, accompanied by “hilltop youth,” the radical settler teens, notorious for harassing Palestinians, who are now standing across the street from the busy pubs and food places, a bit bewildered, wearing tee-shirts saying “Tel Aviv is for Jews”. Rumors are that a couple of their tents were burned by leftists. While the older kids argue, the younger ones are standing in the back, staring at the night traffic at one of the city’s busiest junction.

It is almost midnight. This part of the city is always packed on weekends, but right now it’s so crowded it’s almost impossible to walk. Around 400 tents are scattered along the boulevard. Hundreds of young Israelis are lying between them on mattresses and old furniture, drinking, smoking, playing music, talking with “tourists”—the unofficial name for the visitors to Israel’s first and largest social protest camp site—and mostly arguing about politics.

[…]

This is no longer about housing. The papers are discussing economical figures and social plans, but something very different is taking place on Rothschild Boulevard. It seems that everyone who has something to say came here, put up a tent and started shouting. The euphoria of the first few days of the struggle is still present, but the tension is rapidly building. People still play music and discuss politics, but many fear violence. I am told that the original group that started the protest doesn’t sleep in this tent camp anymore, after receiving threats to their lives.

Yet the camp seems to grow by the day. There are tents everywhere, and in between them stands and people handing leaflets in the middle of the night. There are tents for animals rights, for drafting the ultra-orthodox to the IDF (would you like to sign the petition?), tents built by the Communist party, tents for settling the north of Israel with Jews, a joint Jewish-Arab camp named “Tent 1948,” a tent of social workers dealing with disadvantaged youth (their services have been privatized, and they demand the state give them a formal contract), tents representing art students, a new-age circle of tents with the inevitable girl explaining about the power of inner peace to heal society, a small camp populated by physiology interns, and more, much more. In between, dozens of signs: “Bibi has sold us out”; “The market is free. Are you?”; “Tahrir, corner of Rothchild”; “we are non-political”; “Lock your doors, billionaires.”

What does it all mean? With every day that I visit this place, it seems less calling for a political analysis and more for a novelist, or a Gonzo-style journo.

All around the country, the social protest goes on. Just today, there have been more demonstrations in Tel Aviv than in an average month. A parents’ march for free pre-school education; cab drivers blocked a major road in protest of the rising petrol prices; farmers protested against lowering the tariffs on dairy products; several thousands union people had a rally in front of their headquarter. There is a tent camp in almost every city; some of them are yet to be discovered by the media, like the Ethiopian Jews’ tent camp, half an hour from Tel Aviv. Someone visited them and tweeted: “They ask for water tanks, signs and a singer with a guitar.”

Some of these protest echo things we have seen before, and the main novelty is that they come all at once. But in some places, and most of all on Rothschild Boulevard, something else is going on. Over here, the political festival is getting wilder every evening. A couple of nights ago, Channel 2’s live panel from the Avenue was heckled so badly, they had to cut the broadcast after half an hour. They will not be broadcasting from here anymore. Yesterday, army radio, which has been here for a week or so, was chased away. No policemen are in sight. Freedom is exciting, and scary…

Mark.

11 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Haaretz: Israel protests influenced by Arab world

Israelis are imitating the Arab world, and West Bank Palestinians believe this to be a good thing. According to the Ma’an news agency, 14,032 (nearly 75%) of the 18,722 readers who responded to their online survey, believe that what is happening in Israel’s streets is influenced by and imitating the “Arab Spring”.

[…]

Despite this, there isn’t much interest among the Palestinians in the protest occupying Israel for over three weeks. “We are a people in perpetual struggle with the government, three weeks of protest are not long enough to seriously catch our attention,” said Nariman al-Tamimi, from Nabi Salih, and Afaf Ghatasha, a feminist activist and member of the Palestinian People’s Party.

However, they are both impressed – as are other Palestinians –that the Israeli movement is geared toward improving the already high level standard of living in Israel in comparison to that of most Palestinians. Israelis are making “demands that are luxuries,” according to Ghatasha.

“I know something about the housing crisis,” said Tamimi, who was wrongfully placed under arrest for eight days a year and six months ago, for the attack of a policeman with a sharp object. She was eventually convicted of “obstructing a police officer in the performance of his duties,” during a demonstration against the appropriation of town land and a well.

Her husband Bassam was arrested four months ago and is charged with organizing the demonstrations in their town. “For us Palestinians, it isn’t a housing crisis we are facing but a housing ban. Though the Israeli government being at fault is a common denominator,” she said.

The Civil Administration issued a demolition order for her house built in Area C. The original house, built in 1963, wasn’t large enough for the entire family, and they were forced to expand their house without a permit; a permit Israel doesn’t issue.

From their home, which could be destroyed any day, the family members can see the settlement of Halamish growing. “A few days ago, my daughter saw the Israeli protests with me as I was surfing the web,” Tamimi said, when we met at the al-Bireh Popular Resistance Committees offices.

“She asked me, are they also dispersed with tear gas, are they hit? I told her they weren’t. She couldn’t understand the difference; we are also fighting for social justice, are we not?” Tamimi said.

The main element missing in the Israeli wave of protests, according to Tamimi, is the disconnect between social struggle and the Israeli occupation.

Abu Zaida is the only who seems optimistic about the protests, saying“the public will start reckoning with its government on what it is spending on the settlements and settlers. It’s about to happen. Social justice means an equal distribution of the country’s resources. Everyone knows that this isn’t the case due to political and ideological reasons.”

[…]

Tamimi and Ghatasha believe this is an opportunity for Israelis to understand that they too are victims of the occupation. “All the tear gas grenades thrown at us in demonstrations cost money which cannot be spent on improving social conditions for Israelis,” Tamimi said. However, said she heard that one of the protest leaders spoke out against the anarchists, because they demonstrate against soldiers.

“These are the activists standing by our side in recent years,” she said, “How can you demand social justice for only one group?”

Ghatasha, who was born in the al-Fawwar refugee camp, to a family from the depopulated Palestinian town Bayt Jibrin, also found herself hard pressed to see any difference made by the protests that have swept up the country.

This May she met with Israeli leftist activists, who came to a conference for Palestinian leftist parties in Hebron. At the conference she talked about two processes hindering feminist Palestinian activities and female participation in the struggle against the occupation.

On one hand, she claimed, NGO-ation (the channeling of activities to NGOs funded by different countries), reduces the influence of women groups. On the other hand, militarization of the second intifada pushed most of the population, including women, out of the struggle’s public sphere.

“What is it that makes some Israelis get it and others not?” she mused in her party’s Hebron offices. “I’d like to understand the rationality of the Israeli people,” she added.


“On one hand there’s this selfishness, of a people living off another people’s misery, with no regret. On the other hand, it is obvious that they would be better off were they to live like a normal country, not squandering their money on upholding the occupation, Ghatasha said.

Despite their misgivings, all four agree the protest will allow the Palestinians – most of whom know Israelis only in the form of settlers and soldiers – to see that “Israeli society isn’t one-dimensional, that it is complex, that it shouldn’t be flattened, that it has struggles and oppressed classes of its own,” Ghanim said.

“The protest is shattering the Palestinians image of Israel as a perfect country, where all are full, own villas and trade in their cars every year," Abu Zaida added.

Steven.

11 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Despite their misgivings, all four agree the protest will allow the Palestinians – most of whom know Israelis only in the form of settlers and soldiers – to see that “Israeli society isn’t one-dimensional, that it is complex, that it shouldn’t be flattened, that it has struggles and oppressed classes of its own,” Ghanim said.

let's hope that moronic Trotskyists also begin to see this

Mark.

11 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Tent 1948

[quote=Abir Kopty]

If you are Palestinian, it will be difficult to find anything to identify with in Tel Aviv's tents’ city, until you reach Tent 1948. My first tour there was a few days ago, when I decided to join Tent 1948. Tent 1948's main message is that social justice should be for all. It brings together Jewish and Palestinian citizens who believe in shared sovereignty in the state of all its citizens.

For me, as Palestinian, I don’t feel part of the July 14 movement, and I’m not there because I feel part, almost every corner of this encampment reminds me that this place does not want me.My first tour there was pretty depressing, I found lots of Israeli flags, a man giving a lecture to youth about his memories from ’48 war’ from a Zionist perspective, another group marching with signs calling for the release of Gilad Shalit, another singing Zionist songs. This is certainly not a place that the 20% of the population would feel belong to. The second day I found Ronen Shuval, from Im Tirtzu, the extreme right wing organization giving a talk full of incitement and hatred to the left and human rights organizations. Settlers already set a tent and were dancing with joy.

The existence of Tent 1948 in the encampment constitutes a challenge to people taking part in the July 14 movement. In the first few days, the tent was attacked by group of rightwing activists, who beat activists in the tent and broke down the Palestinian flag of the tent. Some of the leaders of the July 14 movement have said clearly that raising core issues related to Palestinian community in Israel or the occupation will make the struggle “lose momentum”. They often said the struggle is social, not political, as if there was a difference. They are afraid of losing supporters if they make Palestinian issues bold. 

The truth is that this is the truth. 

The truth is, this is exactly what might help Netanyahu, if he presses the button of fear, recreates the ‘enemy’ and reproduce the ‘security threat’, he might be able to silence this movement. The problem is not with Netanyahu, he is not the first Israeli leader to rely on this. The main problem is that Israelis are not ready yet to see beyond the walls surrounding them. Yet, one has to admit, something is happening, Israelis are awakening. There is a process; people are coming together, discussing issues. The General Assembly of the encampment decided on Friday that it will not accept any racist messages among its participants. Even to Tent 1948 many Israelis arrived, read the flyers, listened to what Tent 1948 represent and discussed calmly. Perhaps if I was a Jewish Israeli I will be proud of the July 14 movement. But, I am not a Jew, I am not Zionist, I am Palestinian. 

I don’t want to beatify the reality, or hide anything for the sake of ‘tactics’ and I will not accept crumbs. I want to speak about historical justice, I want to speak about occupation, I want to speak about discrimination and racism, I want to put everything on the table, and I want to speak about them in the heart of Tel Aviv.

Social justice can’t be divided or categorized. If it is not justice to all including all Palestinians, then it is a fake justice, elite justice or “Justice for Jews only” exactly as the Israeli democracy functions “for Jews only”. July 14 is a great opportunity for Israelis to refuse to allow their state to continue to drown into an apartheid regime.[/quote]

Mark.

11 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Noam Sheizaf: http://twitter.com/#!/nsheizaf

Cairo in Tel Aviv: a huge sign calling Netanyahu to go home - in Arabic http://yfrog.com/kejvwrlj

"Walk like an Egyptian" sign in Tel Aviv protest http://yfrog.com/h8n4jukj over 300K now demonstrating across Israel

The largest protest I have been to, maybe the biggest in Israel's history http://yfrog.com/gy8f4dyj

You must give it to Netanyahu: he has mobilized the Israeli public like no PM did before him

Magnificent, building-size, ad busting in Tel Aviv's social justice rally tonight http://yfrog.com/h7iuhosj ("working class") #anarchy #j14

Haaretz

More than 300,000 people took part in demonstrations across Israel on Saturday night to protest the high cost of living.

The biggest demonstration took place in Tel Aviv where around 300,000 people marched from Habima Square, near the tent city on Rothschild Boulevard, to the Kirya defense compound on Kaplan Street.

Protesters chanted "The people demand social justice" and "An entire generation demands a future".

A number of signs that were hung on Kaplan Street read "Resign, Egypt is here".

ynet report

RT report (video)

+972: J14 movement holds largest protest in Israel’s history

+972: Over a quarter million, and Israel still isn’t a story

Edit: reports of arrests on twitter http://twitter.com/#!/ibnezra

Mark.

11 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

[youtube]iJfP9ojk6qk[/youtube]

[youtube]LfhjoSYQJjU[/youtube]

Photos

AJE report (video)

According to http://twitter.com/#!/MaxBlumenthal

#j14 ended tonight with police arresting anarchists almost at random, breaking up protest of leftists with anti-occupation symbols/signs

Guardian video on the Rothschild tent camp

Alf

11 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Just read Adam Ford's article from the Commune:

http://libcom.org/library/arab-spring-israeli-summer

I agree with virtually everything in it. It rejects the habitual leftist view that the class struggle in Israel is of little or no importance and that the starting point must always be the national question. It is also very clear about the historic importance of this movement.

We will publish an article shortly on our website. I will provide a link when it's up.

Mark.

11 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Alf - it would be good to see an analysis of the debate going on in Israel right now between what I'd broadly call J14 sceptics and enthusiasts, some of it on twitter and on sites like +972. This revolves around the movement's stance, or lack of it, on the occupation. For myself I don't really know that much about Israel/Palestine and I suspect there's a lot that I'm missing.

Here's an AJE interview with Joseph Dana, one of the sceptics

[youtube]MSNn3XDH21c[/youtube]

And this piece on +972 by enthusiast Noam Sheifaz responding to the article by Abir Kopty who is more of a sceptic.

The fault and the hope of J14

Many people have rightly pointed out that the J14 protests, which mobilized Israelis to the country’s largest ever demonstration yesterday, refrains from dealing with questions regarding the status of Palestinians under Israeli control – issues such as equality under the law, access to resources and most notably, the occupation.
While I agree with those calls, I think they are missing some of the opportunities this movement presents. I was planning to write an article on these issues, but then saw that Palestinian activist Abir Copty did a much better job than I could hope to do in dealing with these questions. Copty describes her feelings following the time she spent at Tent 1948, a small Jewish-Palestinian compound at the heart of the Rothschild tent camp:

The existence of Tent 1948 in the encampment constitutes a challenge to people taking part in the July 14 movement. In the first few days, the tent was attacked by group of rightwing activists, who beat activists in the tent and broke down the Palestinian flag of the tent. Some of the leaders of the July 14 movement have said clearly that raising core issues related to Palestinian community in Israel or the occupation will make the struggle “lose momentum”. They often said the struggle is social, not political, as if there was a difference. They are afraid of losing supporters if they make Palestinian issues bold.

The truth is that this is the truth.

The truth is, this is exactly what might help Netanyahu, if he presses the button of fear, recreates the ‘enemy’ and reproduce the ‘security threat’, he might be able to silence this movement. The problem is not with Netanyahu, he is not the first Israeli leader to rely on this. The main problem is that Israelis are not ready yet to see beyond the walls surrounding them.

Yet, one has to admit, something is happening, Israelis are awakening. There is a process; people are coming together, discussing issues. The General Assembly of the encampment decided on Friday that it will not accept any racist messages among its participants. Even to Tent 1948 many Israelis arrived, read the flyers, listened to what Tent 1948 represent and discussed calmly. Perhaps if I was a Jewish Israeli I will be proud of the July 14 movement. But, I am not a Jew, I am not Zionist, I am Palestinian.

Well, I am a Jew, and I share Abir Copty’s call for Israelis to take the opportunity of the July 14 movement not just to speak of market economy and social welfare, but to examine the entire nature of the social order in this country – and with it, the relation between Jews and Arabs.

When I visited the tent camp at Rothschild Boulevard I saw people examining the signs and reading the leaflets around tent 1948. I heard that after the rally last night a group of Hassidic Jews stopped there. At the same time, “equality tent” was built at the site of the camp that some extreme rightwing settlers tried to built, before being forced out by leftwing protesters [UPDATE: I just came back from the tents, the settlers are back, and there are constant verbal confrontations and even a bit of pushing and shoving between them and other protesters] . One should also note that among the speakers in the Tel Aviv rally was Palestinian author Udah Basharat, who spoke of land confiscation & discrimination, and mentioned the ongoing campaign against the village El-Araqib.

The J14 movement can go many ways – it can even bring Israel further to the right; it certainly won’t be the first time in history in which social unrest led to the rise of rightwing demagoguery – but right now, it is creating a space for a new conversation. Limited as this space may be, it’s so much more than we had just a month ago.

Mark.

11 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Also this article from +972 by J14 enthusiast Dimi Reider

J14 may challenge something even deeper than the occupation

One of the most impressive aspects of the J14 movement is how quickly it is snowballing, drawing more and more groups and communities into a torrent of discontent. Pouring out into the streets  is everything that Israelis, of all national identities, creeds and most classes complained about for years: The climbing rents, the rising prices on fuel, the parenting costs, the free-fall in the quality of public education, the overworked, unsustainable healthcare  system, the complete and utter detachment of most politicians, on most levels, from most of the nation.

All this has been obfuscated for decades by the conflict, by a perpetual state of emergency; one of the benefits from leaving the occupation outside the protests, for now, was to neutralise the entire discourse of militarist fear-mongering. Contrary to what Dahlia and Joseph wrote last week, the government so far utterly failed to convince the people military needs must come before social justice; Iran has largely vanished from the news pages, and attempts to scare Israelis with references to a possible escalation with Lebanon or the Palestinian are relegated to third, fourth and fifth places in the headlines, with the texts often written in a sarcastic tone rarely employed in Israeli media on “serious” military matters.

Over the past week, though, the Palestinians themselves have begun gaining presence in the protests; not as an external threat or exclusively as monolithic victims of a monolithic Israel, but as a part and parcel of the protest movement, with their demands to rectify injustices unique to the Palestinians organically integrating with demands made by the protests on behalf of all Israelis.

First, a tent titled “1948″ was pitched on Rothschild boulevard, housing Palestinian and Jewish activists determined to discuss Palestinian collective rights and Palestinian grievances as a legitimate part of the protests. They activists tell me the arguments are exhaustive, wild and sometimes downright strange; but unlike the ultra-right activists who tried pitching a tent calling for a Jewish Tel Aviv and hoisting homophobic signs, the 1948 tenters were not pushed out, and are fast becoming part of the fabric of this “apolitical” protest.

A few days after the 1948 tent was pitched, the council of the protests – democratically elected delegates from 40 protest camps across the country – published their list of demands, including, startlingly, two of the key social justice issues unique to the Palestinians within Israel: Sweeping recognition of unrecognised Bedouin villages in the Negev; and expanding the municipal borders of Palestinian towns and villages to allow for natural development. The demands chimed in perfectly with the initial drive of the protest – lack of affordable housing.
The demands chimed in perfectly with the initial drive of the protest – lack of affordable housing. Neither issue has ever been included in the list of demands of a national, non-sectarian movement capable of bringing 300,000 people out into the streets.

And, finally, on Wednesday, residents of the Jewish poverty-stricken neighbourhood of Hatikva, many of them dyed-in-the-wool Likud activists, signed a covenant of cooperation with the Palestinian and Jewish Jaffa protesters, many of them activists with Jewish-Palestinian Hadash and nationalist-Palestinian Balad. They agreed they had more in common with each other than with the middle class national leadership of the protest, and that while not wishing to break apart from the J14 movement, they thought their unique demands would be better heard if they act together. At the rally, they marched together, arguing bitterly at times but sticking to each other, eventually even chanting mixed Hebrew and Arabic renditions of slogans from Tahrir.

Yesterday’s mega-rally was also where Palestinian partnership in the protests came to a head, when writer Odeh Bisharat spoke to nearly 300,000 people – overwhelmingly, centrist Israelis Jews – of the grievances of Palestinians in Israel and was met with raucous applause. I’ll return to that moment a little further below, but before that, perhaps I should  explain why I think the participation of Palestinian citizens of Israel in the protests has more bearing on the conflict than any concentrated attempt to rally the crowds against the occupation.

On the most practical level, if the protesters had begun by blaming all of Israel’s social and political woes on the occupation, none of the breathtaking events of the past three weeks would have happened. They would have been written off as Israel-hating lefties and cast aside, just like every attempt to get mainstream Israelis to care for Palestinians before caring for themselves was cast aside for at least the past decade.

Altruist causes can rarely raise people to a sustained and genuine popular struggle against their own governments, and attempts to rally Israelis to the Palestinian cause for selfish reasons – i.e. for our own soldiers’ sake or because of the demographic time bomb – smacked of hypocrisy and ethnic nationalism; hypocrisy is a poor magnet for popular support, while ethnic nationalism is the natural instrument of the Right, not of the Left, which wields it awkwardly and usually to its own detriment.

It should be admitted, 11 years after the second Intifada, 18 years after the beginning of the peace process, that the Israeli left has utterly and abjectly failed to seriously enthuse Israelis in the project of ending the occupation. There was never a choice between a social struggle focused on the occupation and a social struggle temporarily putting the conflict aside, because the first attempt would have flopped . There was nothing to be gained by trying the same thing again for the Nth time. There have been many important victories in battles, but on the whole, the two-state left (as opposed to the two-state right) has lost the war.

The Occupation is just part of a bigger problem

But these were the tactical considerations valid only for the beginning of the protests. Social injustice does not exist in a vacuum, most certainly not in a conflict zone – and the problem in Israel-Palestine is much wider and deeper than the occupation. The occupation may be the most acute and violent injustice going on, and, like Aziz and I wrote in our New York Times op-ed last week, it’s certainly the greatest single obstacle to social justice on either side of the Green Line. But it’s still only one expression of an organising principle that has governed all of Israel-Palestine for at least the past sixty years: Separation.

Israel-Palestine today is, for all intents and purposes, a single political entity, with a single de-facto sovereign – the government in Jerusalem, but the populations this government controls, are divided into several levels of privilege. The broad outlines of the hierarchy are well-known – at the bottom are Palestinians of ‘67, who can’t even vote for the regime that governs most areas of their lives and are subject to military and bureaucratic violence on a day to day basis; Palestinians of ‘48, who can vote but are strongly and consistently discriminated and lack collective rights (which is a Jewish privilege); and finally the Israeli Jews.

But separation runs deeper than that: It employs and amplifies cultural and economic privilege to fracture each broad group into sub-groups, separating Druze from Bedouins from Palestinians, Ramallah residents from residents of Hebron, city residents from villagers, established residents from refugees; and within Jewish society, Mizrachis from Ashkenazis, settlers from green-line residents of Israel, ultra-Orthodox from secular, Russians from native-born Israelis, Ethiopians from everyone else, and so on.

The separation system is so chaotic even its privileges are far from self evident: ultra-Orthodox and settlers are seen as the communities most benefiting from the status quo, but it is important to remember the actual socio-economic standing of both is rather weak, and many in both are not only beneficiaries, but also hostages – the ultra-Orthodox to sectorial parties, the settlers to the occupation. And the occupation itself is just an instrument of separation: Its long term purpose is to acquire maximum land  with a minimum of Palestinian on it, but for the past 40 years it mainly ensured half the population under the control of a certain government would have no recourse or representation with that government on any level.

And while the issue of the occupation remains to be engaged with directly in the #j14 movement, the very dynamic of the protests is already gnawing at the foundation on which the occupation rests – the separation axiom. Haggai Matar is a veteran anti-occupation activist, with a prison term for conscientious objection to serve in the IDF and countless West Bank protests under his belt. There are few people in Israel more committed to ending the occupation than him. And yet this is how he writes of yesterday’s rally:

Odeh Bisharat, the first Arab to address the mass rallies, greeted the enormous audience before him and reminded them that the struggle for social justice has always been the struggle of the Arab community, which has suffered from inequality, discrimination, state-level racism and house demolitions in Ramle, Lod, Jaffa and Al-Araqib. Not only was this met with ovation from a huge crowd of well over a hundred thousand people, but the masses actually chanted: “Jews and Arabs refuse to be enemies.” And later, in a short clip of interviews from protest camps across the country, Jews and Arabs spoke, and a number of them, including even one religious Jew, repeatedly said that “it’s time for this state to be a state for all its citizens.” A state for all its citizens. As a broad, popular demand. Who would have believed it.

It would be seriously far-fetched to assume the protesters are deliberately trying to pull down the entire meshwork of rifts and boundaries. But one of the many unexpected consequences of this movement – indeed, the movement itself is an avalanche of completely unexpected consequences – is that these boundaries are beginning to blur and to seem less relevant than what brings people together. We have failed to end the occupation by confronting it head on, but the boundary-breaking, de-segregating movement could, conceivably, undermine it.

Like Noam wrote earlier today, it’s still too soon to tell where the movement will eventually go, and “it can even bring Israel further to the right; it certainly won’t be the first time in history in which social unrest led to the rise of rightwing demagogue – but right now, it is creating a space for a new conversation. Limited as this space may be, it’s so much more than we had just a month ago.” The slow erosion of separation lines means there are also possibilities opening up for new conversation about the Jewish-Palestinian divide – including the occupation.

Alf

11 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Thanks for posting that Mark. These articles are very interesting, and despite the liberal sentiments I would agree a lot with the approach. I think this movement has, in embryo at least, 'solved' the dichotomy between the social and the national question. It is in the course of a social struggle that real unity, which can only develop as a class unity with a vision of a stateless human community, can be built and national divisions can be overcome in practice. It is a concrete refutation of all the leftist arguments that 'first we have to solve the national question, then we can have a normal class struggle'.

Mark.

11 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Alf

very interesting ... despite the liberal sentiments

Along the same lines here's an article on the twitter debate by Mona Kareem

Why do I find the hashtag #ThawretWeladElKalb shameful?

In the past 3 days, a new Arab hashtag was trending in the Arab world under the title #ThawretWeladElKalb meaning “the revolution of sons of bitches” in reference to the recent protests in Israel. From the way it has been spelled, I assume it was an Egyptian who made it up, but I have no evidence for it. I described this hashtag today, on my twitter account, as “discriminatory and racist” and I thought it is shameful to witness such an act practiced by the so called “Arab revolutionaries”. Many have reacted by calling me a Zionist or a self-hating Arab. Others started preaching me about the crimes done by the state of Israel as if I were Anwar Al-Sadaat!

I do not hate Israelis (although the Arab educational system raises you up to hate Jews automatically, and to feel superior towards others in general) but I definitely oppose and hate the crimes done by the state of Israel, just the way I do with our Arab dictatorships (keeping in my mind that Israel has been acting way more merciful with its own citizens, unlike our almighty police-state regimes). On the other hand, I also have the same feelings towards Arab suicide bombers who kill people in a night club or a school bus. I believe killing a human cannot be justified what so ever, regardless of the ideology, identity, or religion of the victim and the victimizer.

Arabs lately have been bragging about their “peaceful struggle” for democracy (although using the word democracy is very problematic) and the world has very much appreciated how the Arab Spring shows the other side of Arab nations unlike the deformed image that extremists have established for us over the years. And starting from this exact point, Arabs cannot give up the peaceful path they chose, just when the subject comes to their “classical enemy” Israel. Arab revolutionaries should act more responsible not to contradict themselves and clearly understand what Gandhi once said “an eye for an eye makes the world blind”. They should give up their long heritage that is filled with epics about revenge represented within heroic frames.

Arabs should also understand that their revolutions will only stand up truly when they strongly believe that the revolutions are not only against figures of their regimes but also revolutions to reconstruct their cultures and root out all forms of discrimination because simply discrimination can never be justified and verbal abuse only makes you look worse. Arabs cannot label every Israeli as a criminal, and ironically enough, they do not know that people who protested recently in Israel come from different backgrounds including anti-occupation activists and Arab-Israelis. What most of Arabs know about Israel is just what they know about Chinese linguists!

I am not a Zionist, and the Palestinian-Israeli question is not something we can easily answer. I am a strong believer in the one state solution because it is the only solution that chooses the human being over the imaginary frames created by frozen thoughts. However, it does not matter whether you are with the one state solution or with “getting the whole land back”, because at the end you should know that discriminating against Israelis will not make you look good, it will deepen the gap between you and others, and it will make you practice the sin that you wouldn’t want anyone to practice against you.

All sorts of human struggle should be hailed, respected, and appreciated. We need to act as humans above all because only this way we can win. We need to admit that discrimination is a norm in Arab countries and that revolutions should fight it in all its forms.

Edit: +972 has a piece on this here.

Angry Arab has a comment here that is pretty bad - particularly as he identifies as an anarchist of sorts.

Mark.

11 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

From a correspondent in Tel Aviv:

Re. the question: the protests are not related to the Israel/Palestine question. Obviously, people in the camps are talking about it. But it’s such a sensitive and divisive issue, that taking a stance would mean losing large parts of the protesters.

This is the sad reality we live in in Israel. I decided to join the protests despite this because I think this movement has a long term effect. People are finally out on the streets, talking politics. Israeli Palestinians have joined the protests, and for the first time you hear people talk about social rights without referring to racial or ethnic terms.

But for all your friends who are looking for an explicit condemnation of the occupation or reclamation of Palestinian rights, I unfortunately have to say they will be disappointed. This movement so far has no capacity to talk about the occupation without disappearing. I understand the dilemma you guys have abroad. Personally I recommended my friends in Madrid to wait a bit before taking a clear stance, because of this complex issue. They decided to act anyway and wrote us another support letter.

http://www.peoplesassemblies.org/2011/08/israeli-protests-arab-spring-meets-jewish-summer/#comments

IlanS

11 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Tojiah
"Some of my facebook friends, the more radical leftist ones, are negative about the main Rothschild Boulevard protest, at least. The main complaint is the current unwillingness of the majority of them to connect with previous, mostly non-Jewish housing struggles."

They are probably immature comrades of our Tel Aviv anarchist scene who do not have yet understanding of the contribution of partial/specific struggle within the present system on the revolutionizing of people.

If you look on the way the things changed from a two dozen or so protesting dwelling less than a month ago into state wide including Palestinians for social justice in all the spectrum.

Protesters clearly oppose the neo-liberalism. They prefer direct democracy over older politics... and you better do not question too much the wisdom of those leading it.

It is well known that majority of secular Jews are for end of occupation. Most of them because it cost too much money and blood.

When the strategy is the demand for social justice from the present government, the call for the end of occupation is like striking workers calling/trying to force a capitalist to transform the workplace to a cooperative.

Samotnaf

"btw, just before the war with Lebanon in '82, wasn't there a big "black panther" movement amongst young Sephardi Jews in Israel...? Do you think that that influenced the Israeli state to go to war at that time ?"

The Israeli "black panther" movement started from interaction between Israel libertarian Marxist/communist Matzpen youth around stolen musical records by Musrara Mizragi Youth 1970. It developed with our involvement and encouragement... till they were co-opted after few years.

Tojiah
"wasn't there a massive social movement of non European Sephardi jews in Israel in the months (perhaps as much as 20 months) before the war in Lebanon; I can't believe I imagined it - I know I smoked a lot of wacky backy back then, but I don't think I drifted that far away from reality..."

There was not any serious ferment within the Sephardi jews since the "black panther". There were from time to time a localized protest that never collected momentum.

The 1982 war was a mean to disperse the PLO power in Lebanon.

The serious anarchists against the wall initiative (all within the PGA spectrum but not all self labeled anarchists) involve (in parallel to the joint struggles in th 1967 regions) mainly with the Jaffa tent camp and the Lewinsky one.

The last report is there are nearly 1200 tents in the Tel Aviv camps.

Alf

11 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Article now on website. It owes a lot to the discussions and links posted on this thread

http://en.internationalism.org/icconline/2011/08/social-protests-israel

Tojiah

11 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

IlanS

Tojiah
"Some of my facebook friends, the more radical leftist ones, are negative about the main Rothschild Boulevard protest, at least. The main complaint is the current unwillingness of the majority of them to connect with previous, mostly non-Jewish housing struggles."

They are probably immature comrades of our Tel Aviv anarchist scene who do not have yet understanding of the contribution of partial/specific struggle within the present system on the

Well, this was a few weeks ago. I think many of them have changed their mind, and they seem to take it more seriously now, so your disparaging remarks are really kind of inappropriate.
IlanS

Tojiah
"wasn't there a massive social movement of non European Sephardi jews in Israel in the months (perhaps as much as 20 months) before the war in Lebanon; I can't believe I imagined it - I know I smoked a lot of wacky backy back then, but I don't think I drifted that far away from reality..."

You are misattributing this to me; this was by Samotnaf.

Alf

11 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Ilan - are you in Israel?

PM me if you don't want to answer here

Khawaga

11 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Mark

Angry Arab has a comment here that is pretty bad - particularly as he identifies as an anarchist of sorts.

Yeah, I saw that one. First time I read about the "Revolution of sons of Dogs". Despicable. The Angry Arab is pretty decent on the Arab world, but on Israel he is lobotimzied. He's a typical lefts that parrots the zionist dictum of Israel being an exception. In Angry Arab's view Palestine always is the exception; he e.g. will frequently say that he hates all flags, all nations, but for Palestine he makes an exception. It becomes quite sickening after awhile, but his blog is still a good source on all other things Arab (especially his commentary on al-Jazeera has been really good during the Arab Spring).

Alf

11 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Thanks Mark. Keep up the good work of providing links and info.

IlanS

11 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

You can read my take on the uprising at:
Revolt in Israel - saying no to neoliberalism
http://www.anarkismo.net/article/20262

rooieravotr

11 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Awful statement by Angry Arab

You want me to be impressed with your protests over rent? I am never impressed with anything you do, but maybe you can impress somebody else if you protest the fact that you--YOU THE PROTESTERS--are occupying buildings that you stole by force from Palestinians and that you--YOU THE PROTESTERS--are protesting over a land that you stole by force. You never are bothered by the consecutive massacres that you--YOU THE PROTESTERS--perpetrate in your national army. There is only conflict between you and us: only conflict.

and

But the conflict will continue: It will only end by the end of that Zionist entity and an end to the occupation of Palestine. And once the Palestinian refugees are returned to their homes all over Palestine, I will make sure that you get decent rents in the formerly Palestinian refugee camps because we may be a bit short of space for the occupiers then.

This is blaming the whole Israeli population for the crimes of their rulers and their predecessors. And it is a call for deportation of a rather large part of the population, to put it mildly. It is horrifying to read.

Tojiah

11 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Maybe we should ignore him until he stops working for the State occupying Alta California for the American colonialist government.

Mark.

11 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

#Tent48 #J14 Updated Arab tents list: Nazareth, Baka Elgarbeyah, Sakhnin, Arrabeh, Jaljulyi, Haifa, Jaffa, Jerusalem (students dorms), Hurfesh, Julis-Yerka, Majd Elkrom, Um Elfahem, Nakab, and more to come!

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Tent-No-1948/145119862236730

-----

Protests against the rising costs of living marched on Wednesday in several cities across Israel. In Holon, protesters in the Jesse Cohen neighborhood burned tires and blocked roads after city inspectors ordered them to dismantle their tent compound within 24 hours. Most of the people occupying the tents are homeless.

The residents' representative, Nissan Zacharia, criticized the municipality's decision to clear the encampment. "A small match can ignite everything here," he said, adding that if the tents are dismantled "[Holon] will become like London, and it will be the mayor's responsibility." [edit: more on Holon here]

[…]

In Wadi Nisnas in Haifa 200 protesters marched chanting the usual slogan – "the people want social justice" – but in Arabic. This was the first protests organized by Haifa's Arab community, which constitutes ten percent of the city's population.

Activists in other cities has been discussing whether the protest is political. Among these protesters in Haifa, the answer was clear, as they chanted, "The occupation is a disaster, it serves the tycoons," and "money should be given to neighborhoods, not settlements."

33-year-old Raja Za'atra, who organized Wadi Nisnas's tent city, said the protest is part of the nation-wide movement, but also seeks to highlight the specific problems facing the Arab sector. "The banks won't give mortgages to people who want to buy an apartment," he said. "In the case of the Arab population, the supply is limited and the prices keep rising." He added that there is also a shortage of kindergartens and schools for the Arab population…

http://www.haaretz.com/news/national/marches-held-across-israel-as-social-protests-enter-fourth-week-1.378052

-----

[youtube]AJjzdpm7T8k[/youtube]

http://www.haaretz.com/news/national/south-tel-aviv-social-protest-camp-celebrates-inter-ethnic-solidarity-1.377976

-----

A guillotine, the symbol of the French Revolution, has been placed Wednesday in the center of Tel Aviv's "tent city," turning into one of the biggest attractions in this ongoing social protest.

The surprising display arrived in Rothschild Boulevard following another long night of protests across the country, this time focusing on contractor conditions. Demonstrators in five different cities participated in rallies Wednesday night against working conditions, wearing white masks and chanting: "Contractor companies are organized crime."

http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4107640,00.html

-----

J14 facebook page (in English)

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Tent-City-Israel-English/218844531499499?sk=wall

Tojiah

11 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

More racist nonsense from the government employee of the American colonial authorities in occupied Alta California:
Angry Arab

It is anti-Semitic to receive Israeli bullets in your chests
This is hilarious. Zionist hoodlums and Israeli propagandists (well, they are the same so I am being redundant here) are turning the fight against real anti-Semitism into a joke. Look at this? They claim that calling Israeli protest "Revolution of the Sons of a Dog" is anti-Semitic? How exactly? What am I missing? In the Arab world, "son of a dog" is a common insult and not reserved to one particular group. So there is nothing anti-Semitic in referring to Israeli Revolution of the Sons of a Dog as Revolution of the Sons of a Dog. OK? Those Zionist hoodlums are so out of it: they will tell us tomorrow it is anti-Semitic to resist Israeli occupation. Tell them to go play in the garden.

link

Mark.

11 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

These videos are from early last week and so not up to date but are still worth watching.

[youtube]xg9Z_z-xuX4[/youtube]

[youtube]A35E8fVHNe0[/youtube]

Mark.

11 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Mass social protests to take place in 11 Israeli cities on Saturday

For the first time since the beginning of the social protests that have swept Israel over the past month, protesters will not be gathering for a march in Tel Aviv on Saturday evening, and instead protests will take place in at least 11 other cities across the country.

The main events will take place in Be’er Sheva and Afula. Activists are also preparing for marches in Eilat, Dimona, Modi’in, Petah Tikva, Ramat Hasharon, Hod Hasharon, Netanya, Haifa and Beit Sha’an.

[…]

“The idea is a general expression of solidarity with the different tent city protest sites in the country,” said Yonatan Levi, one of the protest leaders. “It is important to us to gather support for the tent cities, some of which have received less attention. It is also important to gather attention to the tent protest sites in the periphery, where the sites that the tent cities have sprung up in are dealing with serious problems and years of neglect,” he added...

Activists hope for biggest protest ever seen in Israel's south

Protests force Israel to confront wealth gap

Mark.

11 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

From Puerto del Sol to Tahrir Square

Matan Kaminer is an Israeli radical left activist and an MA student in anthropology at Tel Aviv University. He is currently active in organizing the protest encampment at Levinsky (HaKavkazim) Park in Tel Aviv, where native Israelis, migrants and refugees have joined forces.

Interviewer: Wladek Flakin, Junge Welt

03.08.11

Back in March, Israeli Premier said that, in contrast to virtually every other country in the Middle East, there would be no protests in Israel. But last Saturday, up to 150,000 people went out onto the streets demanding social justice, the largest social movement for many years. What is the social background of this movement?

First of all I should say that this explosion was totally, totally unexpected. If you had asked any radical in Israel three weeks ago what the chances were of a gigantic wave of social protest – you would have gotten laughed at. This is totally unprecedented and unpredicted. That said, in retrospect it’s obvious that the main trigger was the collapse of economic horizons for the younger generation of the middle class. All of a sudden people realized that their woes weren’t a personal failing but a consequence of the system. And then they rebelled. It was only later that the poor and disadvantaged among the Jewish population joined in. And now, the Palestinian minority is making its first steps to join the movement – on its own terms.

This protest movement began with a tent city on the Rothschild Avenue in Tel Aviv, very similar to the tent cities at the Puerta del Sol in Madrid or the Midan at-Tahrir in Cairo. Do the young Israeli demonstrators see themselves as part of an international movement?

Yes, definitely. Everybody’s talking about Cairo, and above the assembly area on Rothschild there hangs a large sign saying “Rothschild corner of Tahrir”. In terms of the actual forms of protest and organization I imagine we’re closer to Madrid – one of the most important organizers in Rothschild is Aya Shushan, who spent the previous months in Spain on the plazas. But it’s important to emphasize that in the Israeli context, taking an idea about protest or even revolution from an Arab country isn’t a trivial matter. The solidarity implied here with the peoples of the Middle East is perhaps the most potentially revolutionary aspect of the movement.

In the last year, Israel has experienced a number of important strikes. Are workers participating in this movement, or is it mostly middle-class youth (as many right-wing commentators claim)?

It depends what you mean by workers and middle class. Israel has a post-Fordist service economy. The important strikes in the last year have been initiated by the new, militant trade union federation, Koah LaOvdim (Power to the Workers), and most of its unions are in services – from home day care workers to Open University lecturers. The one exception is Haifa Chemicals, a big industrial establishment which is on strike now. From what I hear, the workers there are taking an active part in the movement in Haifa. But “the working class” is not a category that people identify with and act as part of (as opposed to “the middle class” – somewhat like in the US). The struggle has not taken up the issue of work relations, with two exceptions: one is a demand to raise the minimum wage. The other is solidarity with public sector workers like doctors and teachers who are perceived as working for the general good.

Ofer Eini, the leader of the largest trade union Histadrut, said on Monday that he would not support the protests if their goal was to bring down the Netenyahu government. On the other hand, many demonstrators took up the chant: “Mubarak, Assad, Netanyahu!” Does the movement aim to bring down the government?

I saw a sign saying that, but I haven’t heard anybody chanting the slogan. The movement is split on the question of whether to call for Netanyahu’s resignation, mainly because people are afraid of being “political”. That may sound bizarre in this context, but in Israel “political” has two connotations that are relevant in this context. One is the idea of being involved in parliamentary wheedling, which is very much out of favor. The other, of course, is taking a stand on issues relating to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

One sign at a demonstration read: “Build apartments, not settlements!” Have the protestors been connecting the social question to the question of the occupation of the Palestinian territories?

Making this connection is not as straightforward as the question makes it sound. Of course, on a moral level one can say that “a wrong against one is a wrong against all” and that therefore any demand for “social justice” leads directly to opposing the occupation. But that logic is a bit too abstract. Some Palestinian activists have been voicing concerns that the demands of the protesters will be met at the expense of the Palestinians – by more land expropriations for example. In this context it is important to emphasize that if Jewish Israelis were willing to actively participate in the colonization process, in the West Bank as well as in the Negev and Galilee, then there would be no housing problem. Our extreme-right government would be happy to subsidize them. There is an implicit refusal to play that game in the current protest. This refusal is not idealistic or altruistic, but it is nevertheless there.

A whole different dynamic is based in the fear that the government will start a war or a mini-war with one of our neighbors in order to quell the rebellion. It is not out of the question – Assad, for one, would be happy to play this game with Bibi. A Facebook group called “Committed to continuing the protest even in the case of a military operation” set up yesterday already has 561 members, so there is some basis for hoping that the movement might turn anti-war for reasons of self-preservation.

But, these considerations aside, it has to be admitted that for the most part this movement has so far quite consciously kept its distance from the Palestinian issue. This is rapidly becoming untenable and dangerous. Yesterday the head of the Yesha Commission, which represents the settlements in the West Bank, visited the Rothschild encampment and was received cordially. While at first the right tried to isolate the protest by ascribing it to anarchists and left-wingers, the immense support it receives from all sectors of the public (excluding the settlers) has probably convinced them to try and take it over.

What role has the radical, anti-zionist left in Israel been playing in these protests?

Organizationally speaking, almost none. Prior to the rally in Tel Aviv last Saturday there was an attempt to organize a “radical bloc” which apparently faded away. Exceptions are Koah LaOvdim, which I mentioned above but is not “radical left” though many of its militants are, and Tarabut, a mostly Jewish component of Hadash/al-Jabhah (the mostly Palestinian-Israeli Democratic Front for Peace and Equality).

But as individuals and as a vibrant, well-connected network, the radical left has been amply involved. While some activists dismissed the movement early on, wary of the distance it has kept from the Palestinian issue, most have now jumped on the wagon – limited as it may be, this is the most exciting thing to have happened here in a generation. I think most of us are busy working the interstices, trying to articulate the causes of the working poor and the Palestinian minority with the struggle, as well as working to build democratic institutions within it. Things are happening of themselves, but we can use our connections and our experience to help them along.

Being a radical left activist in Israel is at most times a pretty depressing proposition. We act not out of belief that we can change anything, but rather out of the moral conviction that we cannot do otherwise. Now, suddenly, everything is open, and our activity can make a huge difference. There is something scary about that, but also something very very exciting. Let’s hope it holds.

Khawaga

11 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

The important strikes in the last year have been initiated by the new, militant trade union federation, Koah LaOvdim (Power to the Workers), and most of its unions are in services – from home day care workers to Open University lecturers.

anyone know anything about this union?

Mark.

11 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I hadn't heard of it before but a quick search produced this:

“Koach La Ovdim – Democratic Workers’ Organization” is a new general trade union which unites workers from a variety of fields. The organization was founded in 2007 as an initiative of several leading activists in the field of workers’ rights and workers’ struggles and has been since growing rapidly, unionizing in its ranks thousands of workers. The Caregivers’ Union is one of the many branches of “Koach Laovdim.

Koach la ovdim aims are:

To assist unorganized workers in getting organized in their workplace both in the public and the private sector.

To promote the existence of organized labor in the Israeli economy.

To wage an uncompromising struggle in the defense of workers’ rights and the improvement of their pay and working conditions.

To work for the establishment of social and economic justice, a welfare state and industrial democracy.

The organization is based on a democratic structure in which the power is vested in the hands of the workers. “Koach La Ovdim” believes in social and economic equality, as well as equality between Men and Women, Jews and Arabs and all the sectors of Israeli society. As well as Nepali, Philipinies, Indian, Shrilankan and all the workers of other nationality…

Khawaga

11 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Thanks Mark, but I had seen that. I was more interested if anyone had some more "insider" knowledge. Its aims seem pretty darn good for an Israeli union (at least compared to Histadrut), but I want to know how they've been in practice.

Mark.

11 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

[youtube]5N5p6gOkRiY[/youtube]

The tent protests - Haifa

The “tent protest” is spreading and getting larger by the day.


In the Haifa Arab neighborhood Wadi Nisnas, a number of tents have been set up on the roundabout at the entrance to the Wadi. The activists came up with their own local demands from the government, which include demand for attainable housing solutions for Haifa’s young Arabs, free education for all from kindergarten all the way to university, real development of Haifa’s Arab neighborhoods in cooperation with the residents, cancellation of the discriminating policy according to which no mortgage is granted for apartments and houses in Arab and weakened neighborhoods, cancellation of all discriminating criteria in mortgages, anchoring the right to education, health and welfare in law and making them basic rights that are granted free to all, cancellation of all discriminating criteria in the employment market and in higher education and, most important (to me at least), ending the occupation and directing resources and budgets to housing and social needs instead to settlements and militarism.

Yes, definitely a political protest. The connections have been made.

[…]

Anyway, I went to the demonstration in Wadi Nisnas yesterday. Though I was dead tired, it was important for me to be there. Because this is my protest also. It was very different from the demonstration in Horev Center two weeks ago. It felt much, much more political.

After that, we went to the Hadar Tent. This tent is different from the one in Carmel Center. In Carmel Center, they have “cultural” evenings. I haven’t been there myself, but I heard that they have poetry evenings, lectures on different issues, political discussions. And most of the tent people are activists. In Hadar, it’s not like that at all. I was there last night for about an hour. There were very few activists. Most of the people were residents of Hadar. One woman told us that she’d been living without electricity for nine months. Most of the people I saw are from the very lowest socio-economic strata. Children eating watermelon. Although I myself am struggling economically to survive, and feel that this protest is my personal protest, I couldn’t help but think of the differences between us.

It’s true, I’m probably considered lower middle class. I’ve got a Masters degree, got a good job (actually two part time jobs), stable income, a rented apartment, electricity and running water. I even have a swimming pool subscription. My teenage daughter doesn’t lack anything. And still. I feel that I am barely making ends meet. Still I have lots to complain about in terms of my economic situation. I can’t afford to buy an apartment, and I don’t have any substantial economic security-net. And so when I think of the woman who lives without electricity, I see my situation in a different light.

It’s important that this protest doesn’t leave anybody behind. Not the middle class, not the weakest socio-economic groups. The solutions have to be such that will enable dignified living for all groups. The voices of the weakened and the marginalized have to be heard and taken into consideration.

This is a social political protest. All encompassing. To meet the social needs of the different groups, including housing, health, education and welfare, resources need to be redirected to these issues. Both the public and the government know where these resources can be found – national security. So the first connection has been established. Now the second phase of redefining priorities, redefining concepts, redefining security.

Mark.

11 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

+972: 100,000 demonstrate across Israel as J14 leaves Tel Aviv

Some 100,000 people, Arabs and Jews, demonstrated across Israel tonight, after the J14 movement decided to break with tradition and hold rallies in a dozen different locations instead of one central rally in Tel Aviv. The decision resulted in several protests breaking local records, with over 15,000 demonstrating in Beer Sheva, over 30,000 in Haifa, over 15,000 in Afula (population 40,000). Other locations included the Arab city of Nazareth, the blue-collar town of Or Yehouda, the commuter city of Modi’in, Beit Shemesh, Netanya, Rishon Letzion and many others.

While the protest in Jaffa, which has seen many clashes between police and protesters over the years, ended peacefully, in Or Yehouda some 500 people blocked the road and burned tires. One of the speakers at the Beer Sheva rally, a Negev Bedouin, said the J14 struggle was for everyone, and called on Arabs and Bedouin to join the protest.

While this week’s protest numbers fall far below last week’s 300,000, this is the first time a major political movement or campaign decides not to hold a rally in Tel Aviv at all and calls on everyone to demonstrate in their home towns. The organisers are still calling for a million-strong march in early September. They appear to be in no rush to begin talks with the government, preferring instead to set up mixed experts and protesters committees fleshing out various demands, including a committee on changing the system of election and governance in Israel.

Feminist Arab-Jewish blogger Lihi Yona posted on Facebook after attending one of the protests: “I’m just back form the Haifa demo… if I may, this was the most exciting experience I had in my life. The number of Arab women and men speaking to huge applause from the crowd made me believe there will be a just, equitable state here some day. [Author] Sami Michael, who chose to speak in both Arabic and Hebrew, and the Arab singer – and more importantly, the masses that rocked to that singer’s music – made this night the most amazing experience I ever had.”

“For years, I would feel the need to correct people when they’d say Haifa was a mixed city,” Yona told +972. “I would feel the need to point out that it’s not mixed, that it’s segregated. And tonight it really was an integrated city… there were more Arab speakers than Jews and each time someone would say, in Arabic, “Arabs and Jews,” the crowd understood and cheered them on.”

http://twitter.com/#!/Elizrael

Thousands are here in Beer Sheva. Our radical group is quite big, including people from Tel Aviv, Jaffa, Beer Sheva and al-Arakib.

Leaving the protest now in a car full of far leftists. Organizers said 40,000 attended. I think we were around 30,000.

Best memory from tonight: Tens of thousands cheering to a speech by a female Bedouin activist who spoke about social justice for all.

Photos from Beer Sheva

Photo from Jaffa

Haaretz: Tens of thousands take to Israel's streets as social protests move out of Tel Aviv

Israel protests spread to 18 cities

In Israel, anything that isn’t Tel Aviv or Jerusalem falls under the umbrella term “periphery.”

Sometimes the periphery is distant, in Israel’s miniature terms, such as the southernmost city of Eilat, on the Red Sea, a four hour drive from Tel Aviv. Other times, it can be next door. For organizers of Saturday’s protests in Israel “next door” in this case was literally next door: the Tel Aviv neighborhood of Jaffa, with its mixed Arab-Jewish population and the stunning 3,000-year-old port that Napoleon Bonaparte once ravaged.

“We’re the periphery of Tel Aviv,” said a few semi-embarrassed protesters on this night, the night Israel’s social protesters took over the nation’s streets, and pointedly not those of Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.

Eighteen cities saw their downtown areas cordoned off and police deployed as 100,000 people took to the streets in the style that has become typical of these events: families, young people, pensioners peaceably but implacably gathering in central squares, blocking off main roads and shouting for “social justice.”

In the northern city of Haifa more than 30,000 people marched and gathered to hear the 85-year-old writer Sami Michael, an Iraqi-born onetime communist who taught himself Hebrew at the age of 45, laud the protesters for “coming together, Jew and Arab, poor and middle-class.”

In Be’er Sheba, the capital of the Negev, in southern Israel, legendary crooner Margalit Tzan’ani, (think of a Yemenite Dolly Parton with a little bit of Tine Turner thrown in) came to make amends after having insulted the Tel Aviv protesters in an unfortunate radio interview last week in which she referred to the young movement leaders as spoiled and gutless.

Meanwhile, as government spokesmen finally organized, after a month of demonstrations, to provide pro-Netanyahu spin in real time, the ones most at a loss this week seemed to be Israel’s political analysts, who display disbelief that the protests have yet to fizzle out.

An Israel Radio interviewer caught up with movement leader Daphne Leef, who chose to spend this Saturday night in the Afula march, to ask if the protest leadership hadn’t become ‘too dispersed.”

“Aren’t you asking for too many things? Don’t you think you need focus? What can you achieve like this?” he queried.

Leef, who is 25 years old, started the current civil strife in mid-July when she pitched a tent in the manicured center of Tel Aviv’s Rothschild Boulevard after being kicked out of her apartment, which was undergoing renovations.

“There are 15,000 people here,” she replied, amused. “I think we’re ok for now."

Tojiah

11 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Khawaga

Thanks Mark, but I had seen that. I was more interested if anyone had some more "insider" knowledge. Its aims seem pretty darn good for an Israeli union (at least compared to Histadrut), but I want to know how they've been in practice.

They've come up on libcom before. Here's an informative post by someone who no longer responds here as much.

Mark.

11 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

[youtube]7W87-D1dfnA[/youtube]

IlanS

11 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

An activist - third generation in the left margin of the front of the Israeli Communist Party - which never retreated from its support for the establish of Israel 1948:

"Being a radical left activist in Israel is at most times a pretty depressing proposition. We act not out of belief that we can change anything, but rather out of the moral conviction that we cannot do otherwise. Now, suddenly, everything is open, and our activity can make a huge difference. There is something scary about that, but also something very very exciting. Let’s hope it holds."

The more radical activists of the PGA spectrum - including the anarchists against the wall are usually not depressing. As we do not have the urge to organize the working people frustrated.... We do our share to radicalize the people in every subject we have a chance to. We are in the struggle against the separation fence as partners - not as seldom CP leaders who come to give speech. We were with previous dwellers camps. We see in the consensus decision making and hands mode of discussion of the present uprising the underground currents of change we contribute to on the fly.

Mark.

11 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

From +972

Can J14 turn the tables for the progressive cause within Israel?

The revolutionary social struggle taking place in Israel today is nearing a critical juncture: either it crumbles under the boot of “security needs” and racial segregation, or breaks free from all previous dogmas and reboots our political system

Arab-Israelis should find an ally in the Israeli tent protests

The writer, a native of Jaffa, believes the current political unrest will bury the fanatical nationalism and extremism of Arabs in Israel, just as it will bury Jewish fanatical nationalism

Tojiah

11 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Yisrael Beiteinu MK: Tent organizers are like Palestinians

The tent leaders’ demands are incoherent, and if we [the government] aren’t prepared with a clear plan, they will continue to approach us with new demands. This reminds me of negotiations with the Palestinians – because when the issues are not well-formulated, they constantly come back to us with new demands.

Palestinian-baiting. I do hope it will have the opposite effect.

Glenn Beck calls Israel social protesters 'communists'

Glenn Beck, an American right-wing talk-show host currently visiting Israel, compared the Israeli protesters demanding social justice to communists in his show this week.

We can dream, can't we?

Khawaga

11 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

The terrorist attacks in Eilat and Israeli bombardment of Gaza couldn't have come at a worse point. I wonder how this will impact the protest movement...

Soapy

11 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Khawaga

The terrorist attacks in Eilat and Israeli bombardment of Gaza couldn't have come at a worse point. I wonder how this will impact the protest movement...

Speaking of which, what the hell is going on there right now? Gaza Youth Breaks Out is reporting that Egyptian soldiers died in an exchange of fire with Israelis. Also a rumor about exchange of fire on the Syrian-Israel border, and other various rumors circulating. Anyone know whatsup?

Auto

11 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

The terrorist attacks in Eilat and Israeli bombardment of Gaza couldn't have come at a worse point. I wonder how this will impact the protest movement...

Guardian is reporting that the weekend protest has been cancelled 'to join families in their mourning'.

Mark.

11 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

It looks like the weekend protest is back on.

+972: J14 to hold weekly mass rallies in defiance of attacks

Dimi Reider

Despite calls  to cancel the weekly social justice rallies, the J14 protests will go on as planned – in the form of mass memorial processions for victims of today’s attacks. Prime Minister Netanyahu said Israel already responded to the attacks with a Rafah air raid that killed six.

The J14 movement for social justice will hold its weekly rally on Saturday evening despite today’s rapid escalation in southern Israel and the Gaza Strip. A series of attacks by paramilitaries and retaliatory raids by the IDF already claimed the lives of seven Israeli civilians and soldiers, seven paramilitaries and six Gazans since noon Thursday.

Saturday night’s main rally will take the the form of a quiet memorial march with torches and candles. It will leave from the Habima square at the top of the Rothschild protest camp at 8pm, and proceed towards the seaside park of Charles Chlore, where open discussion circles on violence, bereavement and conflict will be held. Quiet memorial marches and discussions will also take place in places slated for the usual social justice protests, such as Jerusalem, Hod Hasharon and other cities.

The decision comes after an earlier announcement by National Union of Students chief Itzik Shmuli that all protest events will be cancelled elicited a fierce backlash from rank-and-file protesters. The demand not to cancel the rallies was picked up by left-wing and right-wing Israelis alike; the former argued that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government should not be allowed to distract from the protests through an escalation on the Gaza front, while the latter were outraged by the notion of allowing a terrorist organisation to do away with a popular Israeli protest that didn’t yield to Israel’s own government.

Others pointed out the connection between the conflict and the dire situation of Israel’s welfare state, and some made a direct link between the attacks and the need to relocate more funds from the military budget to the welfare and healthcare services for bereaved families and the survivors of political violence. The Tent 1948 Palestinian-Jewish group on Rothschild issued a statement of its own “This is the time to show real strength”, the statement read.  ”Stay on the streets, condemn the violence and refuse go either home or to the Army to take part in the revenge attack on Gaza.”

The discontent with cancelation of the rallies soon spilled from online arguments into protesters spontaneously organising rallies of their own. A few hours later, the national leadership of the J14 announced the new plan for Saturday night. It made no mention of Shmuli’s controversial statement.

Meanwhile,  Israel Air Force  jets bombed a building in Rafah and killed six, one allegedly a senior Popular Resistance Committees commander. Israel insisted on Thursday night the PRC was behind the attacks, although the organisation was yet to claim responsibility.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told a press conference several hours later that “those who gave the order to carry out today’s attack are dead.” He went on to state he “decided on a principle” that Israel would retaliate swiftly and strongly against any attack, “and this is precisely what was implemented today.”

The prime minister’s emphatic use of past tense led mainstream commentators on the Israeli news channels to express hope Israel will not seek further escalation beyond the Rafah attack.

miles

11 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Khawaga

The terrorist attacks in Eilat and Israeli bombardment of Gaza couldn't have come at a worse point. I wonder how this will impact the protest movement...

Depends on your point of view - isn't it the 'best' moment for the Israeli ruling class? I couldn't help thinking 'well that was a convenient moment for an attack'.

Mark.

11 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

There are various suggestions that the terrorist attacks in Eilat were carried out by militants linked to Al Qaida, operating from the Sinai. I don't know whether this is correct or not but as I understand it both Hamas and the Popular Resistance Committees have denied responsibility. I don't see the need to look for conspiracies to explain the attacks although the timing is obviously convenient for the government.

-----

Abir Kopty: The boundaries of July 14

Israel’s protests part 2: the revolution inside the revolution

Samotnaf

11 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

don't see the need to look for conspiracies

agreed - no need, but a conspiracy's possible; still it's a distraction to look for a conspiracy; at the same time, after the killing of Osama bin Laden, it's been pretty obvious that Al Qaida would try something significant, and I'd guess we've not seen nothing yet (after from a double negative).

Meanwhile:

Arab Riots in Jerusalem, Police Respond
Arabs threw rocks at police in Jerusalem, and elsewhere, broke through a checkpoint. Police manage to quell unrest, thwart attack.
19/08/11, 1:46 PM
Dozens of Arab men from Jerusalem managed to break down a police barrier early on Friday afternoon. The incident took place outside the Shechem gate in the Old City.
Police responded immediately, using water blasters and stun bombs to restore order.
The night before, a young Arab man was caught with a knife at the Shechem gate. He admitted to planning to stab a police officer, and was arrested.
On Friday morning a group of Arab men attacked police with stones elsewhere in the capital city. The police were unhurt. The attackers were arrested.
Police remain on high alert following a wave of terrorist attacks in southern Israel and the IDF's subsequent assassination of several senior terrorist leaders in Gaza.

http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/146977#.Tk5FgvRJ_iA

Any response to this from the tent city movement (apart from not knowing which way to turn)?

Khawaga

11 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Depends on your point of view - isn't it the 'best' moment for the Israeli ruling class? I couldn't help thinking 'well that was a convenient moment for an attack'.

Sure it is, but I try to interpret these things from a class struggle point of view. But the thought did occur to me as well, especially since three (or four) Egyptian soldiers were killed as well. And recently troops moved into Sinai to deal with terroists, Israel demanding temporary control a few miles into Taba etc. and all this occuring at the same time as Mubarak is on trial and the Israeli summer is heating up? Too good to be true, but likely it's an attack perpetrated by militants who have been preparing this for a long long time, before anyone knew of either the trial or that Israelis would even start to protest.

Mark.

11 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Haggai Matar

Wednesday night (Aug 17) a first meeting of its kind was held by activists who have decided to facilitate an encounter of the ‘tent struggle’ movement and ‘Palestinian September’. The path we have taken might lead to a mass movement of refusal to prefer occupation wars to peace and struggle for social justice. Here is a summary and some conclusions of this meeting...

http://onedemocracy.co.uk/news/we-will-be-a-jewish-arab-people/

Mark.

11 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

.

Samotnaf

11 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

re. the Arab riot in Jerusalem yesterday, which I mentioned:

Israeli police and Palestinian youths clash in Jerusalem – video

Water cannon used to disperse Palestinian youths trying to break through a barrier to the al-Aqsa mosque ahead of Ramadan prayers, in Jerusalem's Old City. Citing security precautions, Israel has imposed a minimum age limit of 50 for Muslims wishing to pass through the Damascus Gate into the district and anyone younger has been met with mounted officers and batons

Video here:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/video/2011/aug/19/jerusalem-clashes-palestinians-water-cannon-video

Re. the tent 1948 called demo for today, which Mark links to; this call was before the recent attacks and cross-border killings - be interesting to see how the tent city demos will take to this call now.

Mark.

11 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Tent 1948

‎#Tent48 statement: An open call for #J14 protesters in the tents protests around the country: This is the time to show real strength, stay on streets, condemn the violence and refuse go home or go to the army & take part in the revenge attack on Gaza

...

Bibi is having it his way, starting a war. We should go out and shout tomorrow: against violence from both sides, against the occupation, against the siege, against the discrimination, against capitalism and for social and civic justice for all! People dying shouldn't shut us up; it must make us shout louder! @Tent48 @J14

-----

Reza Aslan: The coming showdown in Israel

This is how it always seems to work in the Middle East. Are the people rising up against you? Are they demanding greater rights, economic equality, social justice? Don't worry. All you need to do is point the finger at an external enemy -- some outside force that threatens your borders, your identity, your very way of life -- and hope that the people will forget their troubles and rally around you instead. That's how it works in Syria, Iran, Lebanon, Egypt, and Palestine. Why shouldn't it work that way in Israel, too?

For the past month, a coalition of leftists, student unions, journalists, doctors, and social groups -- popularly known as the J14 Movement -- has been hounding the Netanyahu government through a series of massive protests that have shaken the very foundations of the state. What began as frustration with high housing prices has transformed into the biggest social movement Israel has seen in years. Protesters are demanding the government address the growing class disparity among Israelis, that it make fundamental changes to its education policy, that it cut military spending, even that it stop the expansion of settlements in the West Bank.

The J14 protests have opened deep cracks in Israel's civil society and posed a severe challenge to the country's right wing government. Indeed, some have taken to calling it the "Israel Summer," in homage to the Arab Spring. Which is why the Netanyahu government has been desperate to refocus the people's energies away from the rising price of healthcare and gasoline and toward a more manageable problem: national security.

Right on cue, a group of as-yet unnamed Palestinian militants launched a series of coordinated attacks in Eilat on Thursday, killing eight and wounding dozens more. Israel immediately retaliated with a series of air strikes on targets in Gaza that have thus far killed at least a dozen Palestinians including a two-year-old boy. In retaliation for the Israeli retaliation, more than a dozen rockets have been fired from Gaza into Israel, injuring six Jews near a religious school in Ashdod.

And the cycle continues.

[…]

So then, the question remains: will this generation keep up its efforts to hold the government accountable for its failed economic policies, or will it fold under the banner of national security? Will the protesters continue putting pressure on the government to address domestic issues with the same zealous resolve with which it deals with security issues, or will they pack up their tent cities and go home? Will the demonstrations push on undaunted by the inevitable charges that they are "risking Israel's safety" or will Thursday's attack mark the beginning of the end of the "Israel Summer"?

We may find out this weekend.

-----

Noam Sheizaf on twitter

By reporting only rockets fired 2 Israel in its top stories & hiding news over dead in Gaza, Israeli media is making public want more blood

Reporting on Palestinian casualties is not "unpatriotic". It's part of picture the public always misses. Then they say "we had 2 retaliate"

Joseph Dana

Israel is apparently preparing itself for an invasion of Gaza. These events point to something...

A reserve call up is close and so the social justice revolutionaries of #j14 will have to put on those green uniforms & kill Palestinians

we can only speculate how many will go. Depending on what happens in Gaza this weekend, I think we will see a call up

the bottom line is the bulk of J14ers are in the reserves and so any call up will effect the movement

I do not have specific info on a reserve call up. I am speculating based on events in Gaza, demos in the West Bank next week and September.

The fact, however, is the bulk of J14ers have reserve duties and will be faced with a serious problem if they get the call up.

Time will tell but I am not betting on mass refusal. I have yet to see anything that would point to it.

@ygurvitz they will not even talk about occupation and you think we will see mass refusal. It does not add up to me but I could be wrong.

-----

Meanwhile in Cairo the Tahrir protesters are targeting the Israeli embassy (also here).

Al Masry Al Youm

“We don’t want their embassy here anymore, we don’t want their ambassador in our country, and we don’t want to see that,” said Hisham Ahmed Abbas, a 17-year-old protester, pointing to the Israeli flag hanging from the roof of the building housing the embassy. “We are tired of the unacceptable offenses routinely carried out by Israel against Egypt and the rest of the region, and we want them gone.”

“This protest will not end as long as the Israeli embassy still has a place in Egypt. We will not leave here until they do, and if that fails, we will go back to Tahrir,” Abbas said. “This is not a protest, this is an uprising.”
 
Many protesters reiterated demands that Israel’s embassy be closed.
 
“What is it that they [the Israeli government] are holding against us? How can they still be controlling us?” one woman called out to the crowd. “Mubarak is gone, so why is this injustice still tolerated?”

The protest was largely organized via Facebook. The social networking site now seems to be doubling as an army recruitment center, with online groups existing solely to encourage individuals to sign up as “volunteers” for an attack on Israel—a development echoed by the crowd’s chant: “Give us weapons, give us ammo, send us to Jerusalem.”

I've no idea how this is going to go. Jewish and Palestinian Israelis uniting to oppose a war? Or the first middle east war with tent protesters fighting on opposite sides?

Mark.

11 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

[youtube]BTvk4U01cvQ[/youtube]

Various numbers given for the protest in Tel Aviv tonight but 10,000 being reported on twitter.

Photo

Entdinglichung

11 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/news/union-man-s-wedding-brings-ashdod-port-to-total-standstill-1.380122

Yesterday it was the wedding of Alon Mualem of the mechanical equipment workers' union, headed by Alon Hassan, who is also chairman of the port workers' union. More than 900 people were invited to his wedding, including all those in charge of loading and unloading at the port. Their absence effectively paralyzed the port's activity.

In the past three years Hassan has held two bat mitzvah parties for his daughters, each time stopping the port's activity for several hours.

piter

11 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Yesterday it was the wedding of Alon Mualem of the mechanical equipment workers' union, headed by Alon Hassan, who is also chairman of the port workers' union. More than 900 people were invited to his wedding, including all those in charge of loading and unloading at the port. Their absence effectively paralyzed the port's activity.

In the past three years Hassan has held two bat mitzvah parties for his daughters, each time stopping the port's activity for several hours

weddings and bar mitzvah parties as class struggle weapons! wow!!

Chilli Sauce

11 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

piter

Yesterday it was the wedding of Alon Mualem of the mechanical equipment workers' union, headed by Alon Hassan, who is also chairman of the port workers' union. More than 900 people were invited to his wedding, including all those in charge of loading and unloading at the port. Their absence effectively paralyzed the port's activity.

In the past three years Hassan has held two bat mitzvah parties for his daughters, each time stopping the port's activity for several hours

weddings and bar mitzvah parties as class struggle weapons! wow!!

Yeah, that is fucking cool! 8-)

Mark.

11 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Report on the Olive Revolution - I'm not sure it amounted to much - photos

Edit: According to Abir Kopty

We were not so many as I expected we will be, maybe few hundreds. I could not stop asking myself: where are the people? At some point, when we were attacked by the Israeli army and then came back to the military checkpoint, it seemed like there are more Israeli and International activists than Palestinian demonstrators.

-----

And in another apparent non-event

'Million man' anti-Israel rally in Cairo attracts only hundreds - which is fine by me.

Mark.

11 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

A critical take on J14 from Joseph Dana and Max Blumenthal on +972

J14: The exclusive revolution

This may be my prejudice but I find some of the comments more interesting than the article itself:

Nothing particularly interesting here, just a front-loading of quotes by Zionists (which are obviously upsetting) and a thin link to the current movement accomplished by the occasional inclusion of the appendix “Socialist” to the word “Zionist”, but there is no context or argument.



The rest of the piece reflects, in my opinion, a weak analysis of leftist movements and movements in general. There is the continual portrayal of the “movement” as monolithic, when in fact it is, in the opinion of “radical left” activists on the ground, a contested matter. (This reflects a larger issue, that of 1) seeing movements as process, not static and 2) encouraging process if one believes in the ends (stopping occupation).) Nonetheless, Blumenthal and Dana, as they do in their tweet-fests addressed to the personified “J14″ and “the J14 leadership”, imagine some singularity to which they attribute intention. What’s more, they actually seek out intention in this singularity in the form of the Rothschild Tents – while at the same time criticizing the obvious problems with the Euro, middle-class/elite, pro-Zionist elements that make up this privileged group they valorize. I was in tents outside of TLV where poor Mizrahim were discussing how occupation is a cover for neo-liberalism (Max & Joseph’s point here) and that they won’t let their kids go into the army (that’s radical change, my friend.)



There is also the strange psychologization of “the radical left” as in passages such as: “Matar believe they have found the influence they always sought among mainstream Israelis” and, “If this new movement welcomed leftists, and upheld them as its vanguard, how could it not be revolutionary?”. It could not be revolutionary if it’s not challenging the state, which this isn’t. I’m almost positive the movement hasn’t “upheld the left as its vanguard”. I don’t think ANYONE on the left believes they have “found the influence they always sought”, rather we believe we have an opening to bring the issues of the occupation into the mainstream, by piercing the usual divisions and distractions through a shared struggle over economics. Furthermore, anyone who thinks what has happening to now is a “revolution” has no purchase on history – most leftists who actually have historical analysis do see the moment as having potential, to be an opening for revolution, but none are so foolish as attributed here.



What is most disappointing is statements such as: “there was little evidence that the July 14 movement’s rank and file had any interest in overthrowing the “system,” or that they would ever be willing to acknowledge, let alone engage, the occupation.” DUH. Since when did a social movement or burgeoning revolution begin with acceptance by “rank and file” of all the principles of equality that the most radical sought in the outcome. This gap is the ENTIRE POINT OF BEING AN ACTIVIST!!! Absent a diachronic view of movements and social change (which anyone who is an activist or student of social movements/revolutions would take), this article at best simply describes the state of affairs 2 months into this, but it fails to provide anything else.



I agree with Richard (someone kill me), but it’s true – “a social movement encouraged, not complained about, will succeed”. What we have here is two observers, Max and Joseph, who for some reason or another (it’s not stated what strategic goal their view/take on the movement achieves – other than they might be “right” if it fails) merely describe the present state of affairs in a negative way, rather than becoming engaged in trying to pursue a change in Israeli society.



The retort “Israeli society can’t change from within” is actually the unspoken assertion – I disagree and I think that the revolutions of this year prove that previous assumptions about the potential of societies to overturn their status quo have been brought into question. Minimally, there is evidence we should encourage them against bad odds if we care about the outcome, not merely report how shitty the odds look in the beginning.

-----

It remains to be seen how much is left of J14 after the security scare of the last 10 days. I haven't seen anything about protests planned for today although I presume plans for marches on 3 September are still on.

Tojiah

11 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

That is a very good comment, good thing you pointed to it.

A published response to that article, by Akiva Orr, of the late Matzpen:
Akiva Orr on J14: “The longest journey starts with one small step”

Your article on the “social-protest” is excellent. Full of factual data and ideological insights. I found it excellent and learnt facts I did not know. I fully agree with its content but I still consider this protest unique and politically important in Israeli politics. This is so due to my own political development. Let me explain.
I was politicized by my participation in the great Israeli seamen’s strike in 1951. By the way, a film about that strike was shown in Rothschild tents recently and I was asked to comment.
Until the seamen’s strike I was just an ordinary Israeli kid imbibing all the Zionist education without questioning it. I grew up in a non-political home, as a Tel Aviv ‘Beach Boy.’ I joined the “Hagannah” in 1945 when I entered High School. So did 25 of my other class mates out of which three joined Begin’s ETZEL and one joined the Stern Gang. The remaining six class mates joined nothing. Keep in mind that this was typical to all Jewish high schools at that time. In the “Hagannah” we did military training in summer holidays and fly-posted Tel Aviv streets with weekly at nights. We also participated in anti-British demos. We never did anything anti-Arab. I participated in “Hagannah” activity as a cog participates in a machine. I became platoon commander at 16 and trained 30 kids in drill and use of fire arms but we never fired a bullet (too expensive). All this sounds very political but I was totally a-political. I knew nothing about Marx, Lenin, or the USSR and could not tell the difference between the various Jewish political parties in Palestine. I detested all politics. It reeked of emotional blackmail.
I visited neighbouring Jaffa often as a kid and though it was 100% Arab it never occurred to me that the Arabs might oppose Jewish independence in Palestine. To me – and to most of my generation – the Arabs were part of the physical landscape like the mountains and the vegetation. We did not hate – or fear – them. It never occured to us that a lengthy military/political conflict with them is inevitable. It was simple: our enemy were the British who ruled us, not the “natives”.
Only during the 1951 seamen’s strike did I become politically critical because I read the various press reports about the strike. At that time most Israeli newspapers belonged to political parties. I read them and saw that most press reports were biased against the seamen, and distorted the real facts of the strike. Only one paper gave a factually accurate reporting – and supported the seamen.
It was the paper of the Communist Party (CP). So I joined that party knowing nothing about Marx, Lenin, Trotsky, or the USSR. It took another 2 years of CP membership before I became an anti-Zionist. In the CP, I met Palestinian comrades who were not “Uncle Tom’s” and when I sold the CP paper in Jerusalem (every Friday for 6 years), I encountered violent hostility and opposition that forced me to learn the facts about Capitalism and the Zionist-Palestinian conflict. The 1950s were the peak of the “Cold War” and anti-communism was rough and rampant. I acquired my political education not by books but by political confrontations. I firmly believe that political confrontations with adversaries is the best political education.

Now back to Rothschild tents. Most young people in the tents face their first political confrontation in those tents. Before July 14 they were just fodder in politics. Now they are becoming politically critical – and aware. Whatever the outcome of this unique protest – their minds and attitudes are changed and will stay so. They will not be political fodder again. Give them time and many will become anti-Zionist. One cannot be weaned in a week from what one embraced uncritically for many years at home, in nursery and school. This confrontation/protest changes their minds – and lives. Nothing similar ever happened in Israel before. Moreover, thanks to the mobile phones, Facebook, and the Internet, this protest is completely self-managed. No external organization hatched it or runs it. Massive Citizens’ self-organizing activity never existed in Israel before. This makes all political parties tremble. They know that this protest changed the rules of the political game in Israel. Israeli citizens cannot be treated as “election fodder” in the future. Whoever will treat them so will pay dearly at the ballot box.
My political activity aims to make the ballot box obsolete by direct participation of all citizens in all political decisions.
This protest is a “first small step” in that direction, and as Mao used to say: ”The longest journey starts with one small step.” Though I am not – and never was – a Maoist, I agree with him. That is why I support this protest despite all its drawbacks.
Keeping up the struggle – and enjoying it
Aki

(post itself includes background, and links to an interview with him from last Summer as well as to a documentary about Matzpen (Hebrew w/ English subtitles).

Mark.

11 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

[youtube]gg1UReRl8aQ[/youtube]

Protests went ahead tonight but with much lower numbers than before the Eilat attacks
Haaretz

Tens of thousands of Israelis took to the streets on Saturday night to participate in demonstrations protesting the high cost of living in Israel.

In Tel Aviv, around 10,000 protesters marched from Habima Square to the intersection of Ibn Gvirol and Shaul Hamelech streets, where a rally was held...

In Jerusalem, around 2,000 protesters marched to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's residence. The rally was held under the banner "Protest creates reality, we are building a just society".

In Rishon Letzion, around 4,500 people demonstrated, according to a police estimate.

ynet report

Edit: +972 -- Photos: low turnout for J14 weekend demonstrations

Samotnaf

11 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Aki Orr was also a member of the old Cardan-influenced Solidarity group for several years.

Mark.

11 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Samotnaf

Aki Orr was also a member of the old Cardan-influenced Solidarity group for several years.

If anyone is interested Aki Orr is answering questions on the comments for that article.

Aki Orr

28/8/2011


Dear all talkback writers:


Being 80 its too much work for me to comment
 on comments.


However, if you ask clearly formulated questions I shall do my best to answer all of them factually, without scorn or abuse.


No need to be polite, I’ll reply factually 
to all questions, including rude and insulting


I’ve been spat on by Jews and Israelis for my 
views ever since 1951. I’m used to it. I know its not rain and always carry a towel.


I enjoy the fray – and learn from it.

Expecting an enlightening confrontation


Aki

Caiman del Barrio

11 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Aki Orr

I know its not rain and always carry a towel.

Alf

11 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/aug/28/israel-squatting-campaign-housing

Israeli activists squat empty Jerusalem buildings to protest over costly housing

Social justice activists have embarked on a series of lightning squats of unoccupied buildings as part of a six-week protest against rising rents and house prices in Israel.

The protesters, who aim to "inspire a national squatting movement", unveiled Jerusalem's first "People's House" on Saturday night, occupying an abandoned state-owned building close to prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu's official residence, where several thousand demonstrators called for social justice and better living standards.

The four storey building in the city centre has been empty for 15 years, say demonstrators. It is owned by the Jewish National Fund (JNF), which was established by Zionists more than a century ago to buy up land in Palestine. Plans to turn it into a hotel more than a decade ago never came to fruition.

A coalition of activists broke in through a back window on Friday, cleared away rubble and set about transforming the interior in anticipation of Saturday night's launch.

About 200 Israelis came to celebrate the building's occupation on Saturday night, according to the organisers.

The flicker of hundreds of candles lit up poems inspired by the social justice protests which were daubed in white paint on the walls.

Esther Witt, one of the activists behind the initiative, said the political statement was designed to put pressure on the government to deal with state-owned buildings that stand empty and encourage the thousands of foreign owners of "ghost apartments" in Israel to rent them out.

"We're trying to make a point – this building could easily house four families but it has stood empty for 15 years," said Witt, a special needs teaching assistant and mother of two young children.

"We want those people who own apartments in Israel but only come to the country for two weeks a year to feel that if they leave their apartment empty, it'll be squatted, and so it's in everyone's interest if they rent them out instead."

The takeover of the building followed two similar "guerrilla occupations" in Tel Aviv.

Last Monday, dozens of housing protesters occupied a building owned by the Tel Aviv Municipality before being evicted by police the next morning.

And on Friday afternoon, protesters broke into and briefly occupied another mainly empty municipal building in the city, hanging protest signs on its exterior and leaving before police arrived.

Discontent with spiralling rents, high house prices, the exorbitant costs of education and raising children, as well as a range of other social issues, has seen a national social justice movement blossom since the first "tent city" protest in Tel Aviv on 14 July.

Mass rallies have been held in cities and towns across Israel since then, with an estimated 300,000 people taking to the streets on 6 August in the largest demonstrations over social issues seen in the country.

Unimpressed by the government's establishment of a committee of experts to consider the demands, activists are calling for a "million-man" march in 50 cities next Saturday.

However, demonstrations in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and a handful of other towns and cities on Saturday night saw a markedly lower turnout than in previous protests, with about 20,000 Israelis taking part, according to local media reports.

Protests planned for last weekend were cancelled after terrorist attacks hit the south of the country, and an anticipated Palestinian bid for statehood at the UN threatens to eclipse the sizable media coverage and publicity that the demonstrators have garnered so far.

Alf

11 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

As can be seen from the above, the movement in Israel was not buried by the clashes in Gaza.
The last paragraph of the Guardian article is not strictly correct: demonstrations did go ahead last Saturday and the Saturday just after the bombings. They were smaller but there were real signs of internationalism growing. Below is an attempt to synthesis where things stand at the moment (written just before news of the squatting movement came in)

*********************************************************

In the article on the ‘social justice’ movement published on August 7 on ICConline, we wrote that “numerous demonstrators have expressed their frustration with the way the incessant refrain of ‘security’ and of the ‘threat of terrorism’ is used to make people put up with growing economic and social misery. Some have openly warned of the danger that the government could provoke military clashes or even a new war to restore ‘national unity’ and split the protest movement”.

These fears proved to be well-grounded. On August. 18, 80 rockets crashed into Beersheba, Ashdod and elsewhere in southern Israel, killing eight people. There have been doubts about whether the rockets came from Gaza, or whether they were fired by the Popular Resistance Committees or Hamas. Either way, the Israeli government responded in its characteristically brutal manner, with air strikes in Gaza that left a number dead, including members of the PRC but also civilians and several Egyptian border guards.

Whoever initiated this latest spiral of violence, an increase in war tensions can only benefit the nationalists on both sides of the Israel-Arab conflict. It will create major difficulties for the development of the protest movement and will make many hesitate about continuing with the tent cities and demonstrations at a time when there is enormous pressure to maintain ‘national unity’. Calls to cancel the protests came from the like of National Union of Students leader Itzik Shmuli, but a significant core of the protestors rejected this call. On the night of Saturday 20 demonstrations went ahead although they were to be ‘muted’, and were on a far smaller scale than in previous weeks. The same was true for the demonstrations on Saturday 28th August.

And yet what is significant is that these demonstrations did take place, attracting up to 10,000 in Tel Aviv and several thousand in other cities. And there was no shying away from the question of war: on the contrary, the slogans raised on the demos reflected a growing understanding of the need to resist the march to war and for the oppressed of both sides to fight for their common interests: “Jews and Arabs refuse to be enemies”, “social justice is demanded in Israel and the territories”, “Life in dignity in Gaza and Ashdod”; “No to another war which will bury the protest” . The “Tent 1948” Palestinian-Jewish group on Rothschild issued a statement of its own: “This is the time to show real strength”, the statement read. ”Stay on the streets, condemn the violence and refuse go either home or to the Army to take part in the revenge attack on Gaza.”

A speech by Raja Za’atari in Haifa also expressed the emergence of internationalist ideas, even if still couched in the language of democracy and pacifism: : “At the end of the day, a homeless family is a homeless family, and a hungry child is a hungry child, regardless whether he speaks Arabic, Hebrew, Amharic or Russian. At the end of the day, hunger and humiliation, just like wealth, have no homeland and no language… We are saying: it is time to speak of peace and justice in one breath! Today more than ever, it is obvious to everyone that in order to curb talk of justice, this government might begin another war”. http://onedemocracy.co.uk/news/we-will-be-a-jewish-arab-people/

The fact that these slogans and sentiments should become so much more popular than they were only a year or two ago indicates that something profound is happening in Israel, and especially among the younger generation. We have seen comparable glimmerings of youthful protest against the Islamic status quo in Gaza.

As in Israel, the ‘Gaza youth’ are a small minority and they are weighed down with all kinds of illusions – in particular, Palestinian nationalism. But in a global context of mounting revolt against the existing order, the foundations are being laid for the development of a genuine internationalism based on the class struggle and the perspective of an authentic revolution of the exploited.

Mark.

11 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Alf

The last paragraph of the Guardian article is not strictly correct: demonstrations did go ahead last Saturday and the Saturday just after the bombings.

This seems to reflect the reporting within Israel immediately after the Eilat attacks with the 'cancelation' of the demos being widely reported but not the calls for them to go ahead, including by more liberal sections of the media (Haaretz for example) which had previously sounded quite sympathetic to J14.

Alf

These fears proved to be well-grounded. On August. 18, 80 rockets crashed into Beersheba, Ashdod and elsewhere in southern Israel, killing eight people. There have been doubts about whether the rockets came from Gaza, or whether they were fired by the Popular Resistance Committees or Hamas.

The facts are mixed up here. There's no doubt that the rockets fired into southern Israel were from Gaza. What isn't clear is who was responsible for the original attacks in Eilat (and the eight deaths), given that the PRC and Hamas denied any responsibility for them, and whether there was really any Gaza connection. +972 magazine has various articles on this.

Alf

11 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Yes, the situation was confused, and the Israeli government has no doubt profited from the confusion. Thanks for the clarification.

Tojiah

11 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Apparently the labor courts can force you back to work despite giving a month's notice.

State: Interns' Resignation Illegal

The mass resignations submitted in protest by medical interns are not legal, state prosecutors charged Tuesday in a message to the Supreme Court. The interns' strike measures were not approved by the Israel Medical Association.

Interns have continued to protest despite an agreement between the IMA and the Treasury that ended a lengthy doctors' strike.

(Hebrew sources are more numerous, only this right-wing pirate station had this in English)

Mark.

11 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

NRG is reporting [HEB] today that J14 leaders are contemplating the dismantling of tents across the country and moving on to the next phase of their struggle.

Comparisons to Madrid and the M15 (May 15th) movement have been made for some time now. The Spanish “Indignados” also reached a conclusion that sitting in the squares had a certain life span to it, and eventually picked up their bags and left.

If this indeed happens, it will be a good decision by the J14 leaders. The tents have run their course, and if the Saturday demonstration is big (I’m taking the whole family this time), it’ll be great to “go out with a bang” – but keep fighting through other venues…

http://972mag.com/report-j14-tents-to-be-dismantled-after-saturday-“million-man”-march/

[youtube]3fZSkONYOyA[/youtube]

Tojiah

11 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Mark.

If this indeed happens, it will be a good decision by the J14 leaders. The tents have run their course, and if the Saturday demonstration is big (I’m taking the whole family this time), it’ll be great to “go out with a bang” – but keep fighting through other venues…

For people who aren't middle-class activists, this protest hasn't run its course at all. Not from what I've been hearing from tents in the poorer parts of the country. But I guess some people are hearing a political/NGO job calling? (The latter is pure speculation on my part)

Mark.

11 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Preparations for tomorrow's march

Jerusalem Post

Haaretz, also here

http://twitter.com/#!/J14ENG

Mark.

11 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

[youtube]YVP_-9eC43A[/youtube]

Mark.

11 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Tojiah

Mark.

If this indeed happens, it will be a good decision by the J14 leaders. The tents have run their course, and if the Saturday demonstration is big (I’m taking the whole family this time), it’ll be great to “go out with a bang” – but keep fighting through other venues…

For people who aren't middle-class activists, this protest hasn't run its course at all. Not from what I've been hearing from tents in the poorer parts of the country. But I guess some people are hearing a political/NGO job calling? (The latter is pure speculation on my part)

According to http://twitter.com/#!/J14ENG

J14ENG RT @Edge2_0: People at Rothschild encampment ask to clarify that #j14 will go on. No tent is being taken down.

Mark.

11 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Ynet: A million protesters for social justice?

AFP

Israeli activists have called for a "demonstration of one million" people as part of their ongoing protest movement against rising costs of living, organizers said Friday.

It will be held Saturday evening across Israel, the organizers said.

"We are actually counting on rallying hundreds of thousands of demonstrators, knowing that the goal of one million or one-seventh of the country's population could be unrealistic," one of the organizers, Hadas Kushlevitch, told AFP.

Haaretz: Ahead of the March of the Million, Israel’s social protest leaders are put to the test

The two people now regarded as the protest's leaders, Daphni Leef and National Union of Israeli Students chairman Itzik Shmuli

I'm not sure in what way they're the leaders or who appointed Itzik Shmuli. Maybe what's needed here is an Israeli kremlinologist to analyse how J14 is making decisions and how that corresponds to the media accounts.

Tojiah

11 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Haven't there been previous descriptions of committees within each of the tents? I am getting the impression that they are "leaders" in the sense that they correspond most directly to what the media expects of a movement leader (because perish the thought that there would be anything non-centralized going on!).

Tojiah

11 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Live blog of the March of a Million:
972Mag

Six weeks after Israel’s largest social protest began, protesting the high cost of living in Israel, the J14 movement holds its ‘March of a Million’ protest tonight. The movement aims to bring a million Israelis across the country out into the streets. The protest is projected to be the largest ever in Israeli history, a culmination of the J14 movement, with 17 cities across the country holding demonstrations.
+972 Magazine is blogging the events live. Check here for updates throughout the night.
9:30 pm: The march in Tel Aviv is about to begin. Here’s what Kikar Hamedina is looking like, below, courtesy of ActiveStills. Signs held by protesters in the square are spamming the full gamut: from the spectrum of social justice and welfare state slogans we’ve been seeing since the movement began, to Free Gilad Shalit calls, and notably this time many signs are calling directly for PM Netanyahu to resign. Leaders from the Student Union up on the square’s stage are singing, “the protest will not end until the Knesset wakes up.”

Kikar Hamedina in Tel Aviv, moments before the march begins. (Photo: ActiveStills)
9:05 pm: In Tel Aviv, Kikar Hamedina is already nearly full. Reports say one of Tel Aviv’s largest streets, Ibn Gvirol, along with Jabotinsky Street are completely packed. News reports are putting the current estimate at 102,000 protesters across the country – the number is being updated by the minute.
8:35 pm: Channel 10 news reports that 30,000 protesters have already come out into the streets across Israel. In Tel Aviv, the protest march will begin on Rothschild Blvd and make its way to Kikar Hamedina (State Square) in northern Tel Aviv, where a rally will be held. At least 16,000 demonstrators are reported to already be in Kikar Hamedina, about a half hour before the march begins at 9:30 pm.

None of the other usual live blog venues are carrying it, i.e. Al Jazeera or the Guardian.

Tojiah

11 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

(From 972Mag live-blog)

10:20: The current estimate of protesters across Israel stands at 410,000.
10:11: So far there is very little reference to the occupation and the Palestinians around the protests. Dimi Reider in Kikar Hamedina reports he has seen exactly one occupation-related sign so far, the protest is overwhelmingly Jewish in messages. Joseph Dana tweets: ”Tonight’s protest in Tel Aviv will send a strong message to the world: Israelis want a new government but the occupation is not a priority. ” Nonetheless, some are trying to assert that the issue of social justice cannot be separated from “politics,” meaning the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. @issaeb carries a sign that reads “It’s political.”
9:55: Speeches are now starting on the stage at Kikar Hamedina. Student Union Chairman Itzik Shmueli says the protest will go on until “you, the PM, give us real solutions. We are here to stay.” He says that the students are willing to cooperate with the government in finding solutions, under the condition that the government is willing to take real action, seen in changes in legislation, and in the budget. He is not joining the message portrayed in signs around the square calling for the prime minister to step down.

Mark.

11 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

972 liveblog

Wrap up: Ynet’s conservative estimate of tonight’s numbers puts 300,000 in Tel Aviv, and another 100,000 elsewhere in the country. Maariv’s website NRG had the following breakdown on demonstrations outside Tel Aviv:

Haifa – 40K
Jerusalem – 60K
Kiryat Shmona – 10K
Nahariya – 7K
Rosh Pina – 5K
Kfar Yehoshua – 15K
Hadera – 2K
Afula – 17K,
Carmiel – 5K
Kiryat Motzkin – 3K
Eilat – 2K

Other cities protesting tonight included Arad, Mitzpe Ramon, Eilat, Qalansua, Hod Hasharon, and Ness Ziona.

At the end of the night, the future of the movement is unclear, as some in the leadership have called for breaking up the tent encampments while local activists insist on carrying on.

12:06 pm: Some incredible photos from the night from ActiveStills

11:33 pm: Major Israeli TV channels, including Channel 10 and Channel 2 dropped live coverage of Dafni Leef’s speech half way through. The media’s dislike for her is overwhelming. Over the past week, Leef was repeatedly branded a “radical leftist” in the media. During an interview with Channel 10’s Economic Night host Sharon Gal, was slammed for not having served in the IDF. Later, rightist group “My Israel,” came out with claims that 6 years ago she signed onto a letter refusing to enlist in the IDF [Hebrew].

11:20 pm: J14’s founder Dafni Leef is on stage in Tel Aviv. She’s delivering a range of criticism against attempts to squash the movement. She slammed attempts to use last week’s terror attack to silence the protests, and to drive a wedge between the demonstrators and those affected by violence. Instead she spoke at length about solidarity between sectors in Israeli society, a new civic identity, and a political movement free of the right-vs-left discourse. Whether you’re an evacuee from Gush Katif (in Gaza) or a Bedouin, she said, or a child whose parents can’t afford to send him on a school trip, the situation for you, too, has to change.

11:00 pm: Here’s the tally according to various Israeli media outlets: Channel 1: 450K protesters; Channel 2: 405K; Channel 10: 460K

Mark.

11 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Other reports on tonight's march

Haaretz

Ynet

Meanwhile, the protest organizers announced that the tent site in Tel Aviv's Rothschild Boulevard will be cleared and will no longer serve for accommodation but for public conferences.

The Jerusalem Post contradicts this

Looking at the multitudes gathering in Tel Aviv’s Rothschild Boulevard on Saturday evening, Barak Segel, a member of the group of friends who launched the protests in mid-July, said, “The entire people of Israel have stepped out of their houses to protest. This is one small step for the people of Israel, one giant step for the country.”

When asked about speculation that the movement would begin folding up the tent cities across the country, Segel said, “No, they must stay, the tent cities and the protesters are all in this together. Besides, we need to strengthen the tent cities for the winter.”

When asked if the turnout represented a success, Roee Neuman, long the spokesman of the leaders of the tent-city protest on Rothschild Boulevard, said: “From my point of view, the atmosphere is amazing here. That’s all I can say.”

He added that beginning on Sunday, “the protest will enter a new phase. It could be that the campsites become more concentrated and consolidated, but they won’t be folded up. The protest will keep going and only get stronger until our demands are met.”

AFP

AJE who also have a timeline of the protests so far

BBC video

Mark.

11 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

The media 'leadership' narrative continues...

From +972

J14: Initial thoughts on final rally

The first speaker was Itzik Shmuli, head of the Student Union, who this week openly declared his intention to segue into a political career; the last was Daphni Leef, the 25-year old who pitched the first tent and sparked the movement.
[…]
Itzik Shmuli, head of the Student Union used the term “the new Israelis” at least half a dozen times in his speech. Guess what name to expect for his party?

From Haaretz

What’s next for Israel after the ‘March of the Million’

But today, after the success of the March of the Million, the protest has come to a crossroads. Should it demand all or nothing as protest leader Daphni Leef insists, or should it go the practical way espoused by National Student Union chairman Itzik Shmuli and demand a change in priorities in a number of important realms?

Should there be a "change of the economic system," and an attempt to force Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to completely reverse his approach, as Leef wants, or should the existing market economy continue, with changes made to find the proper balance, as Shmuli has put it?

And should the Trajtenberg committee be boycotted, deemed, as Leef put it, "cynical, cruel and knowingly misleading" or should a dialogue be created with the committee, influencing it so it emerges with recommendations "that will provide real change," as Shmuli believes?

It is the dilemma between those who want revolution and those who want evolution.
[…]
Shmuli understands this well. That is why he is not setting impossible goals. He understands that a free-market economy is the best system, but he wants to change some elements in it. He wants the government to set new priorities within the budget and therefore he objects to the long list drawn up by Leef and her associates. Neither is Shmuli boycotting Trajtenberg. They will be meeting this week, and it appears that if any two people can close a deal, they can.

Remember that it was Itzik Shmuli who unilaterally announced the cancellation of protests after the Eilat attacks without the agreement of the rest of J14.

Tojiah

11 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I can't find much coverage in English, yet, but reports from all four mainstream newspapers seem to suggest that some encampments do not wish to disperse. For example, one encampment in Holon, which houses people who have long been deserving of public housing but were denied it, has been given orders by the city government to disperse, but refuses to:
Folding the Tents? The Homeless in Holon Stay On (Ynet, Hebrew)

Regarding the giant protest in Tel Aviv yesterday, which symbolized the end of the protest in its current form for many, Zacharia said: "The protest today was just another chapter in the Rothschild reality show. It showed the disconnect between the people and the leaders of the tents in Rothschild. The situation will deteriorate because our protest is not just for the sake of protest. That's the difference between those who stay and those who leave.

The leaders of the tent protest, Daphne Leef among them, came to visit the encampment, and were greeted by yelling and swearing. Some of the activists demanded that she leave the area, but others calmed them down and sat down to talk to her.

There are similar sentiments from several homeless encampments in Jerusalem in that same article.

Here's limited coverage in English from the Jerusalem Post:
Student Union takes down its tent at TA Rothschild campsite

The air of optimism was less apparent at the Levinsky Park tent city surrounded by the slums of the old central bus station neighborhood in south Tel Aviv, where in the mid-afternoon around a half-a-dozen African refugees and homeless people lay passed out on couches and mattresses in the mid-day sun.

One resident, a homeless woman named Rachel, said “what happens at other campsites has nothing to do with us. We are people with nothing left to lose and we aren’t going anywhere.”

Shlomo Ayalo, an Ethiopian-Israeli originally from Beit Shemesh, said “the people here aren’t going anywhere because they have nowhere to go. They’ve built a place here in the back door of Israel, for everyone, people of all religions and colors who have been forgotten about. They won’t pack up.”

Tojiah

11 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

In other news,

Israel's National Labor Court rules medical residents' resignation illegal

The National Labor Court in Jerusalem ruled on Sunday that the resignation of hundreds of resident doctors is illegal, and that they must return to work without delay. The resignation letters of 669 residents went into effect Sunday morning, and hospitals across Israel were bracing to operate on emergency footing.

The residents are protesting the collective wage agreement signed 10 days ago between the treasury and the Israel Medical Association, which they say was signed without consulting them or meeting their major demands.

If you're getting treated in Israel, note that you are likely getting your care at gunpoint.

Mark.

11 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Ynet: Tent cities to undergo re-organization

"The protest is moving into phase two," protest leader Daphni Leef told Ynet. "Some of the tents will naturally be dismantled while others will become larger, grow stronger and prepare for winter. Some of them will turn into community centers where the public would be able to continue meeting and talking."

Yoni Levy, one of the protest initiators, said that during the upcoming week, "each encampment will decide how to proceed… Some tent cities will join other encampments. Others will choose to stay in the field. Some, like Tel Aviv's tent city, will undergo a re-organization process and become a center for permanent meetings of the protesters' community."

According to Stav Shaffir, another social protest leader, "We're not making history, we're creating the future. Israeli society has undergone changes. This summer was just our warm-up, the toughest battle is still ahead."

"Tomorrow the tents will be centralized and turned into community centers, where the people can determine their future."
 
Social protest leaders explained the tents and other equipment will be moved to central locations in each city, turning the tent communities into smaller, more permanent gathering spots for lectures, meetings and demonstrations to keep the social justice battle alive.

Tents once spread out along the Rothschild Avenue have become fewer in numbers, some replaced by defined public areas instead.

The famous public kitchen in Tel Aviv's tent city is also expected to move indoors, ahead of the cold days of winter yet to come.

However, contrary to the social leaders' announcements, many activists claimed Rothschild's tent city will not be evacuated.
 
"There are two main groups here: Homeless people with nowhere to go and idealists, who must remain here if they want to turn the encampment into a community center," Yoav Fekete, a tent city representative, told Ynet.

"No one is really going to evict me from my tent," he added. "We must remember that there are people here without any solution… and we're not going to abandon them."

http://twitter.com/#!/nsheizaf

Israeli police getting ready 2 evacuate tent camp @ Jessy Cohen, 1 of poorest neighborhoods around TLV, occupied mainly by homeless ppl #J14
44 minutes ago

ppl at Jesse Cohen tent camp store petrol and vow to fight police, #J14 activists present at place as well
43 minutes ago

Israeli police also about to evacuate tent camp in Bat Yam (South of TLV), ppl at site determined to stay, ask 4 support #J14
41 minutes ago

Other tent sitescamps, including Jerusalem and many tents in TLV, decided to stop camping, saying "protest moving to 2ed stage" #J14
40 minutes ago

Report from Jesse Cohen: MK Dov Khenin managed to postpone evacuation #J14
38 minutes ago

Correction: ppl @ Jesse Cohen not homeless, mostly poor families waiting 4 public housing (which government stopped building) @kereneubach
37 minutes ago

Another report from Jesse Cohen tent camp: no final word on evacuation, activists still urging ppl to come to the place, help locals #J14
25 minutes ago

Chilli Sauce

11 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

How cold is an Israeli winter, out of curiosity?

Also, a lot of the current article seems to suggest the activist element of the movement is very student-dominated. How true it this? How are Israeli workers relating to the encampments and the movement in general?

Mark.

11 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Chilli - I haven't been to Israel in winter but I lived in Athens for a while and I'd guess that winters are similar, with the weather breaking some time in October or November followed by a couple of months of English style cloud and rain and then mostly blue skies but cold from January onwards. I've seen pictures of Jerusalem in the snow but I think that must be pretty unusual.

That last link from Tojiah mentions medical residents taking part in Saturday's march and I think they've been quite involved all along. I haven't seen much else about people taking part as organised workers though I might be missing something. I expect Tojiah could answer this better than me.

Tojiah

11 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Chilli Sauce

How cold is an Israeli winter, out of curiosity?

Also, a lot of the current article seems to suggest the activist element of the movement is very student-dominated. How true it this? How are Israeli workers relating to the encampments and the movement in general?

I'm afraid my information is somewhat second hand, as I am no longer around there, but officially (as in through the student union), the students are very dominant, as we have seen in their leader's ability to lower activity unilaterally after the Eilat attack. Nevertheless, I don't think Leef is a student. A lot of the voices you hear there are simply middle-class people feeling dragged down to poverty, so they're no longer students. And, of course, in the less "fancy" encampments, you have workers and unemployed, for which this is very much a housing and social wage issue. Hence their options of simply packing things up and going home aren't very good (as they either have no home or their home is no better than an impromptu tent/cardboard hut). But I am getting this through sources such as 972 and the mainstream Israeli media, so I don't think I'm better informed than you.

Also, Israeli winter is pretty much like an English winter. I think temperatures fall to 15 highs and 10 lows Centigrade, and you get regular rain and thunder. Snow in Jerusalem comes about once every four years for a day or so, it's actually much colder than most of the rest of the country due to elevation.

Tojiah

11 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

The hunger strike didn't last long:
Residents, interns end hunger strike after one day (JPost.com)

Residents and interns at Sheba Medical Center, Tel Hashomer, on Monday ended the hunger strike they began on Sunday.

The hunger strike was a response to a National Labor court ruling on Sunday that the mass simultaneous tendering of resignation letters by residents and interns was illegal.

Can't find this in English, but the significant raise that all new police officers were promised turned out to be a scam:
A Revolution in Policemen's Salary? "I Feel Cheated." (Ynet.co.il, Hebrew)
To summarize, it turns out that there are many requirements to be eligible for a pay raise, including getting out to police courses which are back-logged for senior cops as it is. A lot of mid-level officers feel cheated, as well, because they convinced lower-grade officers to stay with this upcoming raise as an argument.

Mark.

11 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Haaretz: Israel Police raid social protest tent encampments in Tel Aviv

Police raided the tent encampment on Rothschild Boulevard in central Tel Aviv early on Wednesday morning and cleared some of the remaining tents there.

The police were accompanied by municipal inspectors and cleaning workers.

Tents and other equipment were also cleared from encampments at Nordau Boulevard, Ben-Gurion Boulevard and Levinsky Park in Tel Aviv.
[…]
At around 3:30 A.M., municipal workers started to load tents onto three trucks, Yishai Sakali, a founder of the tent encampment on Nordau Boulevard, said. The tents contained personal possessions and many were occupied, according to Sakali.

“Those guarding the tent protest city, and the people sleeping there, woke up from the noise of the workmen and prevented them from continuing [the clearing],” Sakali added.

“Half of the original tent protest site is left. They took it down with no court injunction, with no warning, including personal possessions, including the destruction of tents that cannot be restored and this was after a clear guarantee that we got from the municipality that there would not be any eviction without coordination,” Sakali said.

Some of the tent city dwellers plan on going to the police to present complaints over theft of property. “We are continuing the tent city activities as usual,” Sakali added.

Yoav Fekete, from the Rothschild Boulevard encampment, said that municipal workers and police came to the site a little before 5 A.M. They started to clear away tents on the southern portion of the boulevard, making their way northward.

“People came out of the tents to go to work, the inspectors came two minutes after that and loaded the tents onto trucks with all the personal belongings in them," Fekete said. "They put tents that were intact into garbage trucks. Yesterday, they passed here and distributed notices saying that they want to cooperate with us and then they cleared tents away illegally. They are laughing at us and there is nothing we can do. We are not violent people.”

Ynet: Tel Aviv Municipality clears out protest tents

http://twitter.com/#!/J14ENG

Much of Tel Aviv encamps. force evicted at 5:30AM. Personal belongings sent to dumpsters.
5 hours ago

Most of the Rothschild encampment has been been razed. Only the most populated sections were left.
5 hours ago

Massive forces evicting Jesse Cohen encampment, Holon. Please get there if you can!
2 hours ago

Report from Jesse Cohen: Encamp. being demolished. Tens of police squads block access to residents and supporters
2 hours ago

Today at 4PM a demo in front of Tel Aviv-Jaffa city hall to protest evictions. Important!
2 hours ago

From the Levinsky encamp. Page: Police and #TLV inspectors tried to evict us at 6AM. They failed.
2 hours ago

Police demolished the Jessy Cohen tent city in Holon. This is a poor neighborhood and some of the camp's inhabitants are homeless.
1 hour ago

First photos from eviction of protest camp in Jesse Cohen neighborhood http://www.flickr.com/photos/activestills/6122881251/in/photostream
1 hour ago

Mark.

11 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

From +972

Tent protestors signal growing trend of civil disobedience

While reading reports in the top stories of Israeli news sites that 40 people got arrested in front of the Tel Aviv municipality last night (Wednesday) and seeing photos of them getting forcefully and dramatically dragged away by police, it occurred to me that these are not sights one often sees inside Israel or in the top stories of the Israeli newspapers.

I am accustomed to seeing such images of Jewish Israelis confronting authorities, mostly in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, protesting against the occupation in one form or another, usually alongside Palestinians. The Anarchists Against the Wall have been doing it in the West Bank and The Sheikh Jarrah Solidarity Movement has been doing it East Jerusalem and throughout Israel.

But in these images of the J14 movement, the struggle is not about Israeli policies in the occupied territories or Israeli-Palestinian relations, but rather internal socioeconomic affairs. And the people getting arrested now are not the same people who get arrested regularly in places like Bil’in, Sheikh Jarrah and Nabi Saleh (although there is surely some overlap). Rather, they are the tent protest leaders.

This is a unique phenomenon, at least in the last couple of decades (the Black Panthers did produce similar images back in the 1970’s). The Israeli activists who are protesting housing prices and economic policies are using the tactics of civil disobedience that those in the activist left have been employing. Those who got arrested yesterday “imported” this model of action into the social protests taking place in Israel’s liberal and cosmopolitan city of Tel Aviv: The act of going to a location that has significance to the struggle (in this case the municipality and the mayor’s residence) chanting certain slogans and demands, and then engaging in an act of civil disobedience by doing a kind of sit-in and getting arrested. The willingness of these Israelis to pay a heavy price for their beliefs, by getting arrested and potentially accruing a criminal record, is indicative of a certain resolve and conviction in the cause that we have not necessarily seen up until now in the relatively calm, family-oriented, festival-like demonstrations we have seen thus far.

And apparently it also yields results, as a news site in Hebrew is reporting that the protestors won an appeal to put a freeze on the city’s move to evacuate the tent encampments throughout Tel Aviv (including the main camps on Rothschild and Levinsky), until a hearing between the two sides is held. The hearing is set to take place later today.

September journey part 7: Enter violence

Joint Palestinian-Israeli statement supporting J14, end to occupation

Mark.

11 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

From +972 again

Clampdown on J14: Main camps evicted, at least 40 arrested

Dimi Reider

Over forty people were arrested on Wednesday and Thursday as protesters and municipal inspectors backed by special forces and police engaged in a furious tug-of-war over the continued operation of the J14 protest camps. In Tel Aviv, municipal inspectors have swept along the main camp of the movement on Rothschild Boulevard, ostensibly removing only “disused” tents for “sanitary reasons.” Activists say many of the tents were simply unoccupied at the precise moment of eviction but still contained valuable personal possessions, including laptops. Attempts were also made to evict the protest camp in Lewinsky Park, the base of the most underpriviliged of J14 protesters – including migrant workers, refugees and Palestinian Israelis.

Further south, in the city of Holon, special forces and police moved in to clear the Jesse Cohen camp. The camp includes several wooden shacks against which demolition orders were issued already several weeks ago, and many of the camp’s members don’t have any other homes. On Tuesday evening, some of the key organisers of the camp were arrested in their homes, before police isolated the camp and demolished the shacks. The activists vowed to continue rebuilding the encampment.

The high point of protesters’ backlash against the evictions was so far Wednesday afternoon, when several hundred blocked the street in front of the Tel Aviv municipality, before making their way in and staging a sit in. Eyewitnesses said responded in force, crashing into the crowd and arresting some forty people. Most were released later in the day or on Thursday morning, but seven were singled out an extended remand and the possible pursuit of criminal charges for unauthorised gathering and assaulting police officers. The charges are yet to be served.

The week has also served to expose rifts and organisational weaknesses within the movement. While at least two of the top national organisers of the J14 movement, Stav Shaffir and Daphni Leef have called on activists to come and help the Jesse Cohen protesters to resist the eviction attempts, the national leadership as a whole remained silent. The confusion and the lacklustre  may have to do with the abrupt departure of the National Union of Students, the most financially powerful, well-organised and centrist of the organisations making up the J14 coalition.

In what other organisers said was an uncoordinated and self-serving move, the head of the NUS, Itzik Shmuli, announced on Sunday the tent strategy was exhausted and the struggle needed to go on “through other means.” The union then proceeded to fold its portion of the tents on Rothschild and pull out. The day before, at the seminal 450,000-strong rally, Shmuli vowed “to protest like there are no negotiations and to negotiate like there is no protest.” On Thursday, a Facebook page was set up accusing Shmuli of creating the momentum for the municipalities to move against the tent camps. Shmuli had previously come under criticism for rushing into talks with the government-appointed Trachtenberg Committee, which fellow organisers said was mere distraction from actual reform.

Despite the clampdown, Wednesday ended with a brief respite for the Tel Aviv protesters, after a local magistrate’s court issued an injunction order against the municipality, pending a negotiated agreement. In Holon, however, where no such court intervention took place,  police moved in again on Thursday, first arresting all the males in the encampment and then demolishing the shacks again.

http://twitter.com/#!/dimireider

Police are in main #j14 camp, arresting activists. West Bank tactics. If you don't visit the #occupation, the #occupation will visit you..
36 minutes ago

(con't) "Even if," I should say. I would wager some of those being detained are veteran and/or anti-occupation activists.
34 minutes ago

Acc to reports, they are looking for and identifying people who took part in the #j14 protest /yesterday/. Through photos.
31 minutes ago

Mark.

11 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

[youtube]fDsiZDaOPn4[/youtube]

Mark.

11 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

[youtube]kzsFmmUbh3Q[/youtube]

[youtube]Ot8NKrLBZds[/youtube]

[youtube]VxsixlyDN4U[/youtube]

[youtube]y7dtVZGbudU[/youtube]

[youtube]w_i0LJCEyRw[/youtube]

http://www.youtube.com/user/AwakeningIsrael

These video clips are extracts from a larger documentary project we are currently filming in Israel about the protest movement and unprecedented grass roots mobilization that have developed across the country over the past month. As the movement has developed, we have been travelling to many of the over 70 tent camps that have sprung up in cities and towns all over Israel and speaking to a broad spectrum of people.

Follow the link for more video clips.

Mark.

11 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

J14 seems to have gone fairly quiet. It remains to be seen whether it's just a lull or whether the movement is fading away. For a pessimistic view there's this from Haaretz.

Here are some articles I missed before which give a bit more analysis. A couple of them refer to articles on 972 magazine which is currently offline (ibnreza: 'We are having an attack on the site. Not sure if it is political but we will back online soon').

Max Ajl: Social origins of the tent protests in Israel

Abir Kopty: The boundaries of July 14

Jews sans frontières: Dana and Blumenthal do Tel Aviv

Jews sans frontières: Blumenthal's defense

Tojiah

11 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I've been getting the impression that it is carrying on, it's just that now the media has lost interest (because it's getting more serious socio-economically). Some tents are still being occupied, in Rothschild as well as elsewhere. If I stumble on a new source in English I'll post it. Those are good articles, by the way.

Tojiah

11 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Update: A note to readers on +972’s outage

To our readers:
On Thursday, we experienced a problem with our hosting company that caused our site to go down. We’ve had momentary issues like these before, and hoped this one too would be resolved quickly. Yet what we initially hoped was a small glitch was a larger one. The hosting set up that worked for us over a year ago when we first launched the site, no longer matches our growing needs.
In order to fix this, we needed to switch to a new hosting company, and set up again with much better technical apparatus. This move took us a couple of days, while we worked around the clock to get the website back up. During this time, there was not much else we could do but wait. This was extremely frustrating for us, as we know it was for many of you.
Thank you for bearing with us while we were down, and for expressing your support for us to get back online quickly. We want to assure all of you that +972 Magazine is safe and sound. You’ll find all of our content still here, unharmed.
We are very proud that our readership has grown considerably since we launched +972 Magazine a year ago, and we have all of you to thank for that. We have renewed infrastructure to make sure we can support our growing audience, so that we can keep providing independent reporting and commentary, and you can keep reading and debating with us.
While the final configurations of the hosting move are completing, you may continue to experience some light bugs while browsing +972 Magazine. These will be sorted out in the new couple of days. Our domain name and all link addresses inside our site, will also go back to normal.
Thanks for your patience and support,
Shir Harel
Managing Editor

No talk of hacking, so perhaps it was really just the rise in volume for their website.

Mark.

11 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

http://twitter.com/#!/Elizrael

Police just evicted the Levinsky tent city (poor Tel Aviv neighborhood). Activists were attacked with tasers, 10 were arrested.

Marching with hundreds of Jews and Arabs in Tel Aviv against the plan to dispossess thousands of Bedouins in the Negev.

We left from the Rothschild tent city and will march to the military and government complex (haKirya) in downtown Tel Aviv.

Arabs and Jews now chanting in solidarity with the demolished Levinsky tent city.

500-700 protesters are now chanting "the conclusions of the (Prawer) committee: racism and discrimination"

We're chanting: "no, no the Prawer report shall not pass". The report's implementation would lead to dispossession of 30,000 Bedouins.

We're in front of the gov complex (HaKirya). Many of the Sheikh Jarrah Solidarity ppl are here, leftists, and Bedouins from the Negev

Under the Prawer plan, Bedouins will be forbidden from living beyond Road 40, despite the fact that they own lands there.

This line isn't arbitrary, the land beyond Road 40 is much more fertile. Imagine Jews were forbidden from living in certain areas.

All the photos I took during today's protest against the dispossession of Bedouins in the Negev http://bit.ly/ooJx7q

Video from the beginning of the protest. We chant: "Jews and Arabs against land theft" http://youtu.be/RxhEO9KQNkA

Entdinglichung

11 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

http://www.workersliberty.org/story/2011/09/21/israels-protestors-eject-racists

Mark.

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Social justice activists and leaders of the J14 summer protest staged flash mobs in various points around Tel Aviv this week, in an attempt to reenergize the public ahead of a planned demonstration on Saturday night. The activists brought the flash mobs to the Ichilov Hospital, two banks on Rothschild Blvd and a supermarket.

http://972mag.com/j14-social-justice-activists-stage-flash-mobs-around-tel-aviv/26399/

follow link for videos

Mark.

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

[youtube]pZUZ8WNzn0w[/youtube]

Mark.

10 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

+972: Attempts to revive J14 protests

An attempt on Friday at reestablishing last summer’s protest was met with a heavy hand by the police. Daphni Leef, who set up the tent that sparked last year’s movement and whose call brought out hundreds on Friday, was violently detained in a sign of a shift in the protester-police dynamic...

Mark.

10 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Global Voices: 'Violent protests across Tel Aviv'
(though the actual events sound less dramatic than the title of the article)

+972: Thousands block highway, attack banks in J14 protest

Haggai Matar

All throughout the winter, Israelis wondered if the summer of protests would make a comeback this year, and some warned that the second time around would not be as “polite.” Last night (Saturday) thousands took to the streets of Tel Aviv and proved that the struggle for social justice has not ended – and that things might be heating up this summer.

It all started on Friday afternoon, as police and municipal inspectors stopped some 500 activists from setting up a new encampment on Rothschild Boulevard, arresting protest organizer Daphni Leef and 10 others. The attack on the peaceful protest prompted an outcry on social networks, warnings of a “danger to democracy,” and calls for a demonstration Saturday night in order to “protect democracy” and to remind politicians of the movements’ unanswered demands for fair housing, education, healthcare, and other social benefits.

Some 2,000 people showed up on Rothschild at around 10 p.m. on Saturday, many of them arriving directly from a demonstration against homophobia that had taken place not far from there. Clashes with police started immediately as protestors started to move out of the boulevard, with police forbidding any kind of march. However, the masses were greater and angrier, and swarmed through the police blockade.

Over the coming four hours, the demonstration doubled in size, simultaneously blocking several main streets in Tel Aviv, including its central Ayalon highway. Demonstrators chanted slogans against the government and capitalism, against the banks and the Tel Aviv municipality that had given the order to take down the tents the day before, and in demand of social justice. At the center of Ibn Gabirol demonstrators broke several bank windows – something totally uncommon and foreign to local protests in Israel – and also besieged the municipality building.

The police was not prepared for the masses and the energy, and failed repeatedly in its attempts to open roads, eventually simply settling for protecting banks and the municipality from even worse attacks. As the hours went by, police started becoming more aggressive, eventually starting to make arrests and beat people. More than 80 were arrested by the end of the night – again, something almost unheard of in demonstrations in Tel Aviv.

At around 2 a.m., the crowd started to disperse, tired from ongoing confrontations. News of the vibrant demonstration was and still is the leading story in all the media and social networks.

There’s no telling where things will go from here, with activists calling for more demonstrations in days to come, and a no-confidence vote against Tel Aviv Mayor, Ron Huldai, planned by the municipal opposition in tomorrow’s city council session. My own estimate is that things that happened last night are just the beginning, as what I witnessed in the streets is people who have lost their sense of fear. “Arrest one – a thousand more will come” was a popular slogan all through the night. If people last year sat in groups in the encampments and learned what they want and why they want it – last night was their first chance to learn firsthand how to get it while on the streets. After this, it is doubtful people will return to quiet rallies of the kind we saw last year.

Edit: ainfos adds that

Among the many red flags and a lonely Israeli flag few RedNblack were seen too. Anarchists were mainly in the pink-black feed of the one hour earlier Queeraction demonstration.

Mark.

10 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

[youtube]0tBm0mxw7kg[/youtube]
.

+972: Amidst hostile media and police violence, J14 finds new voice

Noam Sheizaf

It was a different J14 protest than the ones we saw last year: less organized, and more emotional and confrontational. On Saturday night, thousands of Israelis assembled at Habima Square, and then marched on to block some of Tel Aviv’s main roads: Ibn Gavirol Street, Begin Road, and even the Ayalon highway, that crosses the city from north to south. A couple of banks had their windows smashed; 89 protesters were arrested.

Police later exaggerated reports of violence by protesters, perhaps in an effort to justify the unprecededent number of arrests. Unlike in previous cases, protesters detained by police weren’t let go after a few hours, but rather were held for the night. Yesterday (Sunday), the police asked the court to extend the remands of 14 protesters on charges of assault on cops and even stone-throwing. Yet despite numerous videos taken at the protest – including by the police – there was no evidence whatsoever of such assaults, and not a single law enforcement officer was hurt (not the case for the protesters). On Sunday, various clips of police officers beating protesters emerged (like this one, be sure to check out the last few seconds). Later, a judge released all the protesters.

There is no denying that something has changed in the J14 movement. Last year’s consensus-building atmosphere was gone, replaced by a surprising level of bitterness and anger. Many protesters spoke of the need to take the political battle to the streets, now that even the government’s mild promises from last year weren’t fulfilled, and especially due to the lack of Knesset opposition. Prime Minister Netanyahu now has a coalition of 94 members of Knesset behind him, leaving a fragmented 26-MK strong opposition, which doesn’t even meet the threshold for the assembling of a special debate (which requires 40 members). Netanyahu may have secured the near future by cancelling the elections he wanted to announce, but he reignited the protest against his government.

Another interesting development is the change in the way the media treats the protest. Last year, proxies to the prime minister spoke of “media conspiracy” against him, due to what seemed like the mainstream media’s favorable treatment of J14. Things couldn’t be more different today. J14 was blamed for the economic slowdown Israel is experiencing, which sent the media market into a deep crisis. As a result – and perhaps, out of growing dislike of the protesters themselves – the media tone has changed to one that ranges between ignoring the protest and bashing it.

This is no conspiracy theory. I have heard in person from at least two employees of a couple of the largest media organizations in Israel that they were instructed not to promote news item about the protest, unless something “really exceptional” happens. The managing director of Channel 10 even said as much in public, when he ordered his employees not to “create a social protest.” The effect of the new guidelines was visible last Saturday – until the protesters blocked the city’s main highway and the bank windows were smashed, only Haaretz featured the report of the protest as its top story.

Furthermore, in the days following the demonstration and the arrests, the Israeli tabloids highlighted “the violence” of the protesters. In Yedioth, the reporter at the protest, Danny Spector, wrote today that the protesters “destroyed shops” – something that even the police didn’t say. Just as it happens so often in the West Bank, the papers didn’t bother to fact check claims of stone-throwing by protesters on cops. I was at the demo for several hours, mostly close to the area of confrontations, and all I saw were a couple of water bottles which were sprayed – not even thrown – towards the cops. Considering the Tel Aviv heat that night, I wouldn’t have mind being sprayed myself.

J14 is now the protest of the outsiders. With no backing from the media or major political parties, it is no longer the summer festival people claimed it was in the past. Some questions – like the debate on the need to discuss the other urgent political issues, and most notably the occupation – still haunt the movement. Yet there is renewed energy in the streets, at least in Tel Aviv.

The torrent of grassroots initiatives – generally launched on Facebook – that was the trademark of last year’s protest, is visible again. One emerging idea is a boycott of the “Tel Aviv White Night” – a culture festival organized by the municipality, which is due to take place on Thursday night. Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai played a major part in reigniting the protest when he ordered city employees to make sure not a single tent is placed on Rothschild Boulevard. So far, several art galleries have decided not to extend their opening hours into the night as planned, and other events were canceled as well. If the initiative gains momentum, it could mark one of the rare moments in which the Tel Aviv cultural scene – the well-known “bubble” – comes close to taking a political stand against its immediate business interests. This is J14 at its best – a movement that can politicize people and institutions that normally benefit from the status quo and usually are only too happy to help preserve it.

After two large yet uninspiring demonstrations this spring, activism seems once more like a viable route for political change in Israel. Much will depend on the form the protest takes from now on, and on the response of the authorities. It will be hard to predict or even control the events, since the J14 movement is more fragmented than ever, with last year’s leaders split into at least four or five camps. It’s clear that more confrontations with the police will lead to a smaller, more radical protest and would make a larger political shift more difficult, at least in the short run. And there are events that could dominate the national agenda regardless of what protesters do or don’t – a war with Iran, for example. Yet for the first time since the September 2011, the largest protest movement Israel has seen in decades seems very much alive.

Admins: could this thread be given a new title? maybe 'Israeli social justice protests, updates and discussion' or whatever else seems appropriate.

Mark.

10 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

The previous Real News video on J14

[youtube]iGn6qXSeOVo[/youtube]
.

+972: ‘The future is in the unity of Arab, migrant and Jewish workers’

Tuesday, June 5 2012
The following speech was written for Tel Aviv’s most recent social justice protest this past Saturday. While the speech was ultimately not read aloud, it has been translated for +972 with permission from the author, Wafa Tiara.

Good evening to all protesters,

My name is Wafa Tiara from Kufr Qara, and I am an activist in the Workers Advice Center (WAC-Ma’an). I have come with my friends and colleagues, farmers, construction workers, truck drivers, contract workers in the Antiquities Authority and educational institutions, Palestinians who work in settlements, college lecturers, young people, Jews and Arabs – in order to say to this government loud and clear: We are the voice of this protest, and we demand change!

There are those who claim that we are unclear, that we demand “all sorts of things.” We demand direct employment, not through contractors. We demand pensions. We demand a fair wage, not just minimum wage. We demand job security. We demand education for our children. We demand respect for labor laws. We demand an end to being poor workers. Is that not clear enough?

We are poor workers, and it’s not our fault. We are workers and we are poor because of this government. We are poor because the government wants to keep us poor. Alongside us, 150,000 migrant laborers are licensed to work – Thai workers in agriculture, Chinese workers in construction and Filipinos in nursing. They are modern slaves. Eli Yishai calls for the deportation of the Sudanese because he claims they bring disease. But the same Eli Yishai is also the one to import hundreds of thousands of migrant workers. And do you know why he doesn’t say that they, too, bring disease? Because they pay tens of thousands of dollars to manpower agencies who bring them here to work. And I say: It’s not the sick migrants, but Israeli society that is sick!

The disease is privatization, the disease is tax benefits to the rich, the disease is the link between capital and government, the disease is the massive profits the tycoons earn at our expense, the disease is racism, the disease is occupation, the disease is the refusal to make peace and become a normal society. It is those who refuse peace and equality who are sick, not the migrants!

They scare us with Iran, with Greece and with Sudan. They want us to be afraid, to give up and be quiet. To this we respond loud and clear: We are not afraid!

And we don’t believe them!

And we will continue to demonstrate until we regain our dignity, a fair job and a future for our children. We are the people, and we demand social justice! We are Greece, Sudan, Cairo and Damascus! We are all victims of piggish capitalism, and we are united in our desire to change the system. This is the Spring of Nations; this is the spring of workers, in Ramallah, Cairo, Tunis, Greece and Damascus. All over the world, “the people demand social justice,” and we, from here, express our deep solidarity with them – especially with the Syrian people being massacred by Assad’s criminal regime. The people have woken up, the workers have woken up and we here woke up – and we aren’t going back to sleep!

The future is in our hands, in the unity of Jewish, Arab and migrant workers:

No to racism! Yes to equality!

No to war! Yes to peace!

No to exploitation! Yes and yes to social justice!

Wafa Tiara is a resident of Kufr Qara and mother of four. She has been an agricultural worker and trade union activist in WAC-Maan since 2005. Since 2008, she has coordinated WAC’s work in Israel’s triangle region, where she helps Arab women find decent jobs in agriculture, and leads social and cultural activities.

jonthom

10 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

On May Day this year there was an anarchist presence on the march in Tel Aviv organised an anarchist communist group called Ahdut ("Unity") - they have a blog (in Hebrew), and also a youtube channel. Does anyone know if they've been involved in these protests, and regardless, what they (or AAtW) have to say about them?

Mark.

10 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

@jonthom - The Ilan against the wall blog has a report on the weekend's protests so I take it that AAtW was involved.

Ilan adds that

MEDIA: In wake of raucous rally, vast majority of Israelis - 69 percent - support renewal of social protest.

Sixty percent of those polled said last years protest has brought no change; 16 percent said the situation worsened, while 15 percent said it improved.

The poll, conducted under the supervision of statistics professor and pollster Camil Fuchs, found that 27 percent of the 508 respondents, all of them Jewish, said the police were the only ones at fault in Saturday's rally.

The poll found that most of the respondents (61 percent) oppose the smashing of bank windows that was part of the weekend demonstration. But, nearly a quarter (23 percent) said they agreed with the statement "It's too bad, but sometimes there's no choice and it happens."

A smaller minority (9 percent) fully supported the property damage "as part of the protest."

Though the Jewish demographic group that expressed the highest level of support for the protest is secular Israelis (79 percent), a majority of ultra-Orthodox (57 percent) and Orthodox (53 percent) Israelis also expressed their support.

A rally was held on Monday in front of Tel Aviv city hall and disrupted the meeting of the city council. The demonstrators plan to return on Tuesday to protest the violence on the part of police officers and municipal inspectors during the weekend rally. No violent incidents were reported during Monday's rally

Alf

10 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

The recent pogroms against immigrants, fuelled by some unbelievably racist speeches in the Knesset ('these intruders don't understand that Israel is for the White Man....they should be put in camps...they bring disease and crime....etc etc')were deeply depressing but these demos are a sign that there is still a possibility of resistance against capital in Israel

Mark.

10 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

@Alf - Talking about pogroms here's a piece from +972 from a few weeks back:

Yuval Ben-Ami

Danielle, a social studies coordinator in a high school in the north, told her students that large scale demonstrations are expected to take place on Saturday evening in Jerusalem, Haifa and Tel Aviv. The students responded enthusiastically: “Great! Let’s demonstrate against those Sudanese people, let’s boot them out of here!”

Danielle needed two sentences to explain to her students that the demonstration is not directed against asylum seekers – it is an attempt to reignite the struggle to correct Israel’s warped economy. After a 40-minute conversation, the students understood that the issue of African asylum seekers is more complicated than they previously thought. They also gathered that there’s no point marching blindly in the footsteps of those politicians who are good at inciting while not coming up with any feasible solution to anyone’s problems.

The manner in which the students ignored issues directly related to their own future, focusing instead on booting out Africans, is no coincidence. It is a testimony to the success of the distractive sleights of hand used by Netanyahu and his cohorts to divert attention from what we learned last summer. Like a great magician, Netanyahu has focused on creating illusions...

Reports on the deportation of refugees from South Sudan:
http://972mag.com/tag/south-sudan/

I'd compare all this to the government crackdown on immigrants and rise of Golden Dawn in Greece.

And, rather depressingly, from another +972 article

Noam Sheizaf

This is not the first time that the Palestinian leadership in Israel refuses to take part in opposing measures taken against the African asylum seekers. In many ways, the Africans are indeed “the other’s others” here. Though I never heard from Palestinian MKs the kind of angry and often racist rhetoric right-wing Knesset members use on this issue, it’s clear that the Arab leaders are reluctant to stand in solidarity with the asylum seekers, as much of the Israeli left sometimes tries to do. In January, when the Knesset voted in favor of the infamous infiltration bill – making it possible to detain illegal aliens, including minors, for three years or more – not a single Palestinian MK joined Labor and Meretz in opposition to the bill.

Mark.

10 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

+972: Thousands march in Tel Aviv; J14 protesters block J'lem light rail

Around 10,000 protesters marched in Tel Aviv yesterday (Saturday) in demand of social justice. This was the largest J14 protest this summer thus far, but it was a far cry from the size of similar rallies last year. Hundreds gathered in several other Israeli cities, including Haifa, Jerusalem and Afula. On the other hand, demonstrations last year also started out the same size after the first tent was erected on 14 July, and grew by the week – reaching half a million only in September.

In Jerusalem, protesters blocked the route of the light rail. As part of an agreement between the city and the private company that runs the rail, demonstrations are not allowed near the route of the train, including in central squares which had been used for protests for decades.

In Tel Aviv, protesters marched from Habima Square to the museum square. Several hundred people split from the main rally, in protest against the organizers of the rally, who were more affiliated with the Labor (Avoda) party and much less so with the Mizrakhi neighborhoods and periphery, and marched through central Tel Aviv roads, swelling in size throughout the night. The police, which was criticized for the use of force against protesters last week, kept its distance and allowed the march to continue, but heavy police forces were present in the streets, including, for the first time, an unrecognizable armored vehicle, which appeared to serve as a mobile communications and photography base for police.

The protest in Tel Aviv included a block of protesters carrying signs against the occupation, the most common of them being “Democracy for all, from the sea to the Jordan.”

petey

10 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Alf

some unbelievably racist speeches in the Knesset ('these intruders don't understand that Israel is for the White Man....they should be put in camps...they bring disease and crime....etc etc')

holy fuck

Mark.

10 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

From Ilan against the wall

Ilan

Occupy movement

In addition to various local activities a "Black Night" competition to the municipality Thursday White Night project was initiated. Many arts actions were canceled in the official project in protest of municipality initiated harassment of the Occupy Friday the previous week.

The first Black Night event was kicked off by a group of activists in south Tel Aviv's Shapira neighborhood. Unlike the protest against police brutality last weekend, these activists protested the city's ignoring the neighborhood during White Night.

D. S., one of the organizers, said: "Yesterday we got a call from the Levinsky police station. When we came there they said no way would we get a permit [for the party]. They said if we held it with no permit, we would be officially charged. They said they couldn't let us do it because the protest guys will come, the anarchists."

"The social protest movement is planning to follow up Thursday's dissident "Black Night" events with another march in Tel Aviv on Saturday night against government economic policy. Scores of artists, musicians and other performers last night joined in a boycott of the municipality's annual White Night in a continuation of the protests over police violence against social justice demonstrators."

Tel Aviv

After the previous Saturday night demo of four thousands in protest of Friday attack of activists it was refreshing to have three time more in this Saturday. about 1000 Protesters split from the main crowd and marched on an unauthorized route to the state offices building and then marched along the main road up to the city square.

State forces which were caught red handed on lot of video clips both on the previous Friday and Saturday got strict orders to let both the demos march as they wish.

The state plans for two austerity measures were declared null by the prime minister...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TMbGmfNtTMA

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wz3S5OK-sPo

Mark.

10 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

From +972

Solidarity vs. militarism: The Zionist contract and the struggle to define J14

Haggai Matar

Two parallel demonstrations took place on Saturday night in the fair city of Tel Aviv: one calling for equal duties, the other for equal rights, and both defining themselves as part of J14. Why the split, and where is it going?

Itzik Shmuli, leader of the national student union, did not join any of the recent weeks’ J14 demonstrations for social justice. This aspiring politician, dubbed by media last year as the “responsible adult” in the movement, even went to the trouble of telling off demonstrators after a few bank windows were shattered during a vibrant demonstration two weeks ago, and chose not to partake even in the more moderate of the two demonstrations that took place in Tel Aviv last Saturday.

Last night, however, he chose to return to the streets, alongside several other more mainstream J14 activists, ex-military men, several ministers and MKs, and a group of right wing groups such as Im Tirzu. The cause, dubbed by some a “natural part of J14,” was to fight for the mandatory military enlistment of all citizens, ultra-Orthodox and Arabs alike. Tens of thousands rallied at the museum square in central Tel Aviv and demanded that the government force Israelis to “share the burden equally,” and to take away social benefits from those who don’t.

As speakers were going on and off the stage, about 1,000 other J14 protestors marched the streets of Tel Aviv, blocking main roads, attaching anti-foreclosure posters to banks, and setting fire to government bills and reports printed on cardboard.

As opposed to the main rally at the museum, this demonstration was organized within about 24 hours, and got none of the media support that the rally did. (Three of the big national papers – Yedioth Ahronoth, Ma’ariv and Israel Hayom – showed clear sympathy for the pro-draft rally in their Friday editions, and the two former published calls to join it.)

Also in contrast to the rally, this demonstration was about equal rights, not equal duties. Slogans chanted were aimed at capitalism, the banks and the government, and at parts also at the army and entire Israeli security apparatus – especially as demonstrators passed by the Ministry of Defense. The military “Racoon” surveillance vehicle made a second appearance and photographed everyone at the demonstration. Dozens of undercover police were spotted in the demonstration, but unlike two weeks ago – police allowed the uncoordinated march, and no arrests were made.

The breakdown of the Zionist contract

So why two demonstrations? Why the split in J14? One has to look into the history of Zionism and the State to understand this one. The founding social contract of Zionism was based on the notion that all Jews must stick together, especially in combat against Arabs but also otherwise against a hostile world, and in exchange they would enjoy the benefits of a welfare state. Of course this was never actually the case, as men and women were never equal in the army and thus neither in civilian life, and Ashkenazi and Mizrahi Jews were also treated differently, the latter being constantly discriminated against – but the hegemonic ethos survived. That is, until the 1980s.

When the neo-liberal economy started taking hold of Israel, the Zionist contact started to lose ground. Privatization and cuts in health, housing, education and healthcare took their toll on society; the army started losing its near-sacred status; upper-class individuals realized they no longer needed the army to maintain their position in the economy; and the lower classes could afford less and less to lose two to three years of paid work. By no coincidence, this period between 1990 and 2010 was also when the number of ultra-Orthodox Jews avoiding the draft took an immense leap upwards.

The entire J14 movement, I believe, is a late repercussion of neo-liberalism’s breaking of the Zionist contract. Stemming from the middle class disappointment at having kept its side of the deal only for the state to neglect its part, people took to the streets. What they found in the streets, however, was much more complex. Uniting for the first time in local mainstream history with the periphery of Mizrahi Jews and with some Palestinians with Israeli citizenship – many in the Ashkenazi middle class suddenly realized that the old contract wasn’t as good for many as it had been for them.

This is were the friction comes in: while some have responded to this discovery by taking a step back, stating they only wish to reclaim the old “welfare state” and prove their loyalty to the patria with outspoken militarism, others take a step forward, reject the ancient contract, and take from it only the notion of solidarity – which is now finally being enhanced and widened to include all citizens.

It is no coincidence that the government and most of the media is treating the former J14ers, who find it easier to unite with right-wing groups like they did yesterday, with respect. The latter, comprised of left wingers who try to expand solidarity even further to include Palestinians in the occupied territories as well, are branded as “anarchists” or “criminals,” tailed by a military vehicle, harrassed by police – with the media either ignoring or criticizing them.

Yet this is all, I wish to argue, a blessed part of J14. It is a struggle within the struggle, a fight for a new sort of discourse, and an ongoing process in which people on the streets and on the social networks are constantly learning and redefining themselves. It is the most basic and necessary thing in a democracy and it is something that was impossible to imagine in Israeli society of old – until the first tent sprung up on July 14, 2011. It is unclear where it is all going, but it is fascinating.

Auto

10 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

News reporters on Twitter are saying a protester tried to self-immolate with gasoline at the end of the J14 march.

He apparently gave out a leaflet just before saying that he was crushed with debt and couldn't afford bills and food.

Auto

10 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

English article here:

http://972mag.com/breaking-man-sets-himself-on-fire-at-the-end-of-tel-aviv-march/50970/

Translation of the letter:

The State of Israel has stolen from me and robbed me, left me with nothing
and the Tel Aviv District Court blocked me from getting justice. — registrar at the Tel Aviv District court, broke the law, disrupted legal proceedings, out of condescension.
It won’t even assist me with my rental fees
Two committees from the Ministry of Housing have rejected me, despite the fact that I have undergone a stroke and was granted 100% work disability
Ask the manager of Amidar, in Hafia, on Hanevi’im Street.
I blame the State of Israel
I blame Bibi Netanyahu
and [Minister of Finance] Yuval Steinitz
both scum
for the humiliation that disenfranchised citizens go through day in and day out, that take from the poor and give to the rich, and to public servants
those that serve the State of Israel
The National Health Insurance, especially —, the manager of their operations, and the manager of their claims department, —, on Lincoln Street in Tel Aviv, who illegally seized my work equipment for my truck.
The Haifa National Insurance Institute branch, who took abused me for a year until I was granted disability
That I pay NIS 2300 per month in Health Insurance taxes and even more for my medicine
I have no money for medicine or rent. I can’t make the money after I have paid my millions in taxes I did the army, and until age 46 I did reserve duty
I will not be homeless, this is why i am protesting
Against all the injustices done to me by the State, me and others like me.

Mark.

10 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Auto

News reporters on Twitter are saying a protester tried to self-immolate with gasoline at the end of the J14 march.

He apparently gave out a leaflet just before saying that he was crushed with debt and couldn't afford bills and food.

Moshe Silman died on Thursday

http://972mag.com/silmans-flames-should-not-die-with-memorial-candles/51520/

jonthom

10 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Disabled IDF veteran sets himself on fire in Yehud

An Israeli man set himself on fire in the central Israeli city of Yehud on Sunday, and was evacuated to Tel Hashomer hospital in serious condition.

The incident comes two days after the death of Moshe Silman, an Israeli man who set himself on fire during a mass social protest last week.

The man was a 45-year-old disabled Israel Defense Forces veteran. He reportedly brought a canister of gasoline to a bus stop in Yehud and set himself alight, when passers-by saw what was happening and put out the fire. The man sustained burns over 80 percent of his body.

Rescue services arrived at the scene, and evacuated the man to Tel Hashomer Hospital.

Mahmoud Gdir, an eyewitness, said that he was in his car across from the bus station when he saw the man.

"I saw a man pouring a bottle on his body, and immediately I understood that it was gasoline and not water," he said. "I stopped and ran to him. I saw him holding a lighter, and I pleaded with him not to do it, but he did. I ran to my car to get a small fire extinguisher. It lasted about 2-10 seconds."

Mark.

10 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

jonthom

On May Day this year there was an anarchist presence on the march in Tel Aviv organised an anarchist communist group called Ahdut ("Unity") - they have a blog (in Hebrew), and also a youtube channel.

In front of the Spanish embassy in Tel Aviv

machine translation of their blog

http://www.facebook.com/pages/אחדות-Единство-Unity-الوحدة/274324392592753

Mark.

10 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Beyond Compromise, a new Palestinian site, looks as if it may be worth following. One of the editors identifies as an anarchist. Report here.

A Palestinian view of anti-Zionist Jewish activists
Maath Musleh

If an activist was sentenced to time in prison, he or she will need support, mainly for the ‘canteen’ money. In many cases, prisoners who come from a different social class are completely ignored by us. The group of Jewish activists, mainly anarchists, who hold Israeli citizenship sponsor many of those ignored prisoners. They regularly raise funds to provide money for the prisoners’ ‘canteen’ allocation in prison. This group of activists takes part in the weekly protests organized by the PSCC. As it is clear that relations with so-called “liberal Zionists” is unacceptable, Palestinians have not reached a clear consensus on the relations with the anti-Zionist Jews. Some Palestinians claim that the Jewish activists who carry Israeli citizenship should exclusively work within their community. What is their community? Is it the Israeli community? If so, are you including 1.5 million Palestinians holding Israeli citizenship to your definition? If not, does your definition exclusively include Jews? Are we advocating sending back the Jews to the Tel Aviv Ghetto? Let us remember that a lot of these anti-Zionist Jewish activists built their anti-Zionist views when they left that ghetto.

The Israeli government pressured the PLO to change their definition of a Palestinian during the Oslo Accords. PLO defined the Palestinian as every person lived in Palestine prior to UN-Partition-plan in 1947 and their descendants. That included all the Jews living in historic Palestine. The Jews who lived in Palestine prior to November 1947 held Palestinian citizenship. We are also forgetting that some Jews are now in Israeli prisons for their role in the Palestinian armed resistance. Examples of Jewish participation in the Palestinian struggle against Zionism are unlimited. Even Fateh Revolutionary Council has a Jewish member, Uri Davis. Although the majority of the Jewish activists do not define themselves as Israelis, it is time for them to make a clear definition. Who are they? Are they Palestinian Jews? This should be cleared up amongst them, and that will be the key to help Palestinians come to a consensus on that matter.

Some arguments against the participation of the anti-Zionist Jews are that they are privileged. Many of the non-Jewish Palestinians are also privileged. I am privileged. It is correct that Jews who hold Israeli citizenship have a lot more privileges. They can take advantage of the apartheid laws practiced by the State of Israel. Nonetheless, these activists constantly give up a lot of their privileges. I have personally witnessed the brutality of the Israeli Occupation Forces militants against the anti-Zionist Jews. The only thing stopping the state of Israel from declaring the anti-Zionists as non-Israelis is that they will be contradicting their own rhetoric. They will be pulling the trigger that will blow their rhetoric that “Israel is the home of all the Jews.” This will be the start of the end.

Some Palestinians argue that the participation of those anti-Zionist Jewish activists beautify the face of the State of Israel. How is that true? Those activists publicly advocate for Boycott, Divestment and Sanction (BDS) in every forum. They advocate for the dismantling of the State of Israel. How is this beautifying the face of Israel? If anything, they are doing exactly the opposite. They are exposing the ugly face of the Zionist state. Those anti-Zionist Jews participate in the Palestinian resistance because it is also their struggle against the Zionist state. We cannot ask them to stay in the ghetto. It is worth noting that they have a clear understanding of all these sensitivities. They never try to dictate the agendas of these protests. They have always taken all criticisms and attacks targeted to their participation with open heart. But let us remember, they are human beings, with feelings and dreams. They are hanging in the middle and they deserve to be accepted somewhere. They will certainly not be accepted in the Zionist community; however, to be accepted in the Palestinian struggle completely they should make a clear definition of who they are.

Mark.

10 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Beyond Compromise, a new Palestinian site, looks as if it may be worth following. One of the editors identifies as an anarchist.

From the Palestine Telegraph

Yasir Tineh

Anarchism is generally defined as the political philosophy which holds the state to be undesirable, unnecessary and harmful, or alternatively as opposing authority and hierarchical organization in the conduct of human relations.



Savor the above definition as we begin to examine the series of events that occurred in Palestine since June 30th.



On June 30th 2012, protesters took to the streets of Ramallah objecting to an announced visit of Shaul Mofaz to meet with Mahmoud Abbas. The protesters were met with brute force; they were beaten and insulted

.

The protest reformed the next day, now with two demands instead of one. They desired respect and they wanted to rightfully object to the visit by Mofaz. 

They were met this time with even more force, insults and humiliation. Women were slapped and cursed at with vile language. They were told that they have no right to protest because of their gender, insulting the very status of women in the Palestinian narrative, a status which is highly revered and respected. The women of Palestine have been pillars in every form of resistance Palestinians have practiced.



They were not met with men but with cowards, cowards in uniform. A funny thought and a more horrifying one is that not too long ago, Mahmoud Abbas was begging Israel for weapons as revolutions waged on in neighboring countries, and Israel denied him.



I presume he wanted more weaponry so he could attack not only women, but journalists as well, as his 'proud' forces managed to get to a few of them. Swollen eyes, broken cameras, head injuries and the highly efficient gang style group beatdowns.



Any citizen out in the streets protesting or documenting what was happening was not spared.
 Now comes the question of how this occurred, and the answer is simply the Oslo Accords. What the Oslo deal did was start a centralization process of the Palestinian struggle; it gave ultimate power to one entity. Power corrupts.



The Palestinian people and their struggle cannot become centralized for many reasons. First off, without centralized power, Palestine becomes represented by every member. There is nobody to negotiate with, nobody to make concessions to or compromises on behalf of the Palestinian people. The refugees will echo their demands louder, and Palestinians will become more united against the oppressions they face.



The political system in which Oslo has entrenched us eventually created division and alternate aspirations for power, diverting our focus of the reality of what is happening around us. We now have factions that consider each other rivals, and all they care about is power. We have people willing to physically harm others of their own blood and skin, simply because they are posing a threat to their political standing and their political existence. We have decisions being made that affect Palestine without any form of Palestinian unanimity.



Anarchy is aspiring to become without government. Palestine has had a “government” since 1993, a government which proceeded to negotiate with the occupying force pointlessly as more land was stolen, more Palestinians were killed and jailed and more refugees were born in exile.

Palestine does not need a government. The idea of establishing a government in a country that remains oppressed evades to normalization, deceiving the world and the public eye into believing that we are the masters of our own political fate. It also implies that this government is democratic and has the approval of Palestinians.



Palestine needs resistance and political chaos.

Mark.

10 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

+972: Divided society, divided protests

Two separate protests were held Saturday night in Tel Aviv, in a bizarre drama that split the ritual Saturday evening demonstrations into two ragged parts, with each group claiming to represent the true social justice movement...

Mark.

10 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

+972: Palestinians take to streets in call for Fayyad to step down

In the past few days, protesters have filled the Palestinian streets. This time, their protest is not against Israel, but rather against the Palestinian Authority and specifically Prime Minister Salam Fayyad. The Palestinians are coming out to protest the rising prices in the West Bank, which have increased at a time when the Palestinian Authority has been unable to pay its employees their full salaries on time...

Mark.

10 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

[youtube]wqk1pH_sLQs[/youtube]

Thursday, 6 September

Nassar Ibrahim, Palestinian writer and analyst, reviews the factors which have led Palestinians in the West Bank to take to the streets and demand resignation of Prime Minister Fayyad and a decreased cost of living. Palestinians are facing a real crisis and whilst no one can now say to where such movement on the streets will lead, an understanding of the factors which mobilize and feed these protests is an essential starting point.

This week we began seeing expressions of the dynamics within West Bank Palestinian society concerning the economic situation. These expressions – demonstrations and strikes throughout the West Bank – indicate the huge pressure under which the Palestinian people live.

What is currently happening indicates a deep and real crisis facing Palestinians. On the political level, the crisis reflects the lack of a horizon in the political process between the Palestinians and Israel. Economically, the Palestinian Authority is facing financial difficulties following pressure from donors, which are not sending aid as agreed upon. Salaries to PA workers have not been paid for three months, thus putting a heavy burden on the lower and middle classes. Israel is also not committed to returning the taxes it collects on behalf of the PA, and is now threatening to cut off electricity in the West Bank if this debt is not paid. The global financial crisis certainly has an impact. Thirdly, what is now happening further reflects the dependence of the Palestinian economy on donors and foreign aid.

So Palestinians are taking to the streets, saying that while we can understand the political crisis, we don’t understand how to face the increased cost of living in such a difficult situation.

No one knows where this current movement will lead.

The links between and amongst the various aforementioned factors strongly motivate and feed this movement: political pressure, restrictions of the Israeli occupation, the dependency on donors and global financial crisis. These factors are reflected here more strongly than anywhere else in the world given the Palestinian dependence on the circles of the Israeli economy and flow of donations of the PA.

http://www.alternativenews.org/english/index.php/news/opinion/5202-video-why-are-palestinians-protesting.html

[Monday, 10 September]

Though rumors of a general strike that would have shut down all traffic and closed businesses in Bethlehem and other West Bank cities failed to materialize, streets have been blocked in several locations as taxi and truck drivers took to the streets to protest high fuel and food prices. Reports from Ramallah, Tulkarem, Nablus, and Bethlehem indicate a growing number of daily actions to protest the cost of living. Targets of the protest include the Palestinian Authority in general and Prime Minister Salam Fayyad in particular. Protests are expected to continue in the coming days.

http://972mag.com/photo-palestinian-taxi-and-truck-drivers-protest-high-fuel-and-food-prices/55605/

Palestinian protests on twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/search/realtime/%23palProtests

Ramallah this morning:
[youtube]6JyicLs6ENY[/youtube]

[quote=AP]

Palestinian demonstrators fed up with high prices and unpaid salaries shuttered shops, halted traffic with burning tires and closed schools throughout the West Bank on Monday in the largest show of popular discontent with the governing Palestinian Authority in its 18-year history...[/quote]

Mark.

10 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Admins: In the light of the developing protests against the Palestinian Authority could the name of this thread be changed, maybe to Israel/Palestine social protests, or whatever else seems appropriate. I'm inclined to keep this as one thread. It's one country after all, under the effective control of one state - Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and Ramallah are only a few miles apart.

Joseph Kay

10 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

done

Mark.

10 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Thanks

Mark.

10 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Photo from Nablus: Taxis spell out "إضراب" (strike)

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[quote=Budour Hassan]

When referring to the current protests in the West Bank, the following terms must be banned: "Third intifada" and "Palestinian spring"

‪@Budour48‬ I get your point, but what should it be called?

Social/economic protests.

‪@Budour48‬ weren't all the Arab revolutions that?

Protests in Sudan, yes. But other Arab revos combined demand for social justice with explicit political demands.[/quote]

Mark.

10 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

[quote=Budour Hassan]

Today at 5pm protest for freedom, dignity & social justice in Ramallah. Qe should NOT soften the rhetorics. Demand downfall of PA out loud

Don't forget prisoners on hunger strike. We must bring them to public discourse. Protest in Ramallah today provides an opportunity

Int'l activists in Ramallah: don't join us as protesters. You're welcome to film & take pics but that's it. Domestic affair [/quote]

-----

More photos from yesterday

Mark.

10 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Photos from today

[quote=Budour Hassan]

Each time we see a glimpse of a protest movement against the PA, it's quelled thanks to donor charity and general lack of perseverance.

Fateh guys tried to hijack demo by chanting against Fayyad,an easy target.They booed as soon as ppl chanted against Abbas/PA

Fayyad is the Palestinian Authority's favourite scapegoat. They have no problem w/sacrificing him to maintain 'control'

As for the demo, it was typical Ramallah. Protesters were outnumbered by journalists & mukhabarat[/quote]

Mark.

10 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

The Israeli Radio, Channel 2, (Reshet Bet) reported that senior Israeli security officials filed an urgent recommendation to the Israeli Government of Benjamin Netanyahu to transfer large sums of cash to Palestinian Prime Minister, Dr. Salaam Fayyad, in order to prevent the collapse of his government amidst massive waves of protests demanding his resignation...

http://www.imemc.org/article/64219

Mark.

10 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

‪#PA‬ gov't having exceptional meeting with Western donors in ‪#Ramallah‬ now. Can fat stack of foreign cash lull ‪#palprotests‬ to sleep ?

#Israel is granting 5000 work permits for #Palestinians acc. to Maan - wonder if attempt to calm down #palprotests?

Just to clarify, the $250 million Israel is sending to PA is money it withheld from the latter as VAT

http://twitter.com/#!/search/realtime/%23palProtests

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Global Voices: Demonstrations against rising living costs continue

Entdinglichung

10 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

collected links:

http://www.labourstart.org/cgi-bin/show_news.pl?country=Palestine&alllanguages=1&languagename=English&langcode=en&lang=English

http://www.labourstart.org/cgi-bin/show_news.pl?country=Israel&alllanguages=1&languagename=English&langcode=en&lang=English

Mark.

10 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Meanwhile on the other side of the wall

[quote=IlanS]

Activists blocking a main street in Tel Aviv on September 8, 2012 during a protest calling for social justice. We were about 200 participants only, but the police got an order to tolerate us. For about two hours we marched along the Iben Gvirol main street blocking the traffic to the north. from time to time we converged for a while on specific targets like the war minister home, and banks, and occupied for a while the main intersections along the route. Speeches and chants were produced by the participants and loud-speakers.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/activestills/7957432364/in/photostream/lightbox/[/quote]

Ed

10 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Edit: there are some really nice photos here as well..

Mark.

10 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

[youtube]tK6dnuUC3R8[/youtube]

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Al Akbar English: US to grant Palestinian Authority $200m

The US State Department Thursday said it was working with Congress to release some $200 million in funds to help the Palestinian Authority through a crippling financial crisis.
[…]
The Palestinian Authority is facing its worst economic crisis in years, largely because of a failure by donors to deliver pledged funds.

Over the past 10 days, towns and cities across the West Bank have been rocked by protests and strikes in response to the rising cost of living, particularly the spiraling cost of fuel.
[…]
On Tuesday, Fayyad announced cuts to VAT and fuel prices in a bid to quell the protests, and two key unions said on Wednesday they would halt further demonstrations while they hold talks.

As well as cutting taxes and fuel costs, Fayyad pledged to begin paying overdue August salaries to civil servants.

The US funds come after Israel urged Washington to help prop up the Palestinian Authority, fearing a popular uprising could unseat Israel's Palestinian ally.

-----

+972: An agreement on indefinite occupation: Oslo celebrates 19 years

Noam Sheizaf

Today, 19 years ago, hours before the Oslo agreement was signed in Washington, I set foot for the first time in Gaza. Our unit was sent for a week of foot patrols and flying checkpoints. Our commanders, who had been to the West Bank and Gaza in the past, were shocked to see the PLO flags that marked the signing of the agreement hanging in the streets. Until that day, flying a Palestinian flag was forbidden. It was a sign – an important one – that the occupation was ending.

The night before our deployment was tense – we had many leftists in our ranks, and at least one considered refusing to serve in the occupied territories. He was met with fierce pressure and threats from our commanders; but no argument had as strong an effect as the feeling that the entire occupation was about to end anyway. It made sense for us to help bring this temporary situation to an end, many in our ranks rationalized.

A couple of years later, I was back in Gaza. This time, my unit was in charge of the busy road between Khan Yunis and Gaza City. At a moment’s notice, we could cut the Strip in two. We often did. The pretext for our deployment there was the existence of – how surprising – a settlement. Unlike in the days before the Israeli withdrawal from Gazan cities under Oslo, Palestinians couldn’t enter Israel anymore, so the effect of the entire agreement on the local population was essentially a siege. So much for peace.

The same cycle of hope and disillusionment happened to me a year later in Hebron, after my unit transferred control over parts of the city to the Palestinian Authority. Since then, things have gotten much worse for the local population. Settlements in and around the city have expanded, and the IDF’s Civil Administration began pushing the Palestinians in the areas under Israeli control, especially south of the Hebron, into the cities, and declaring their lands natural reserves, archaeological sites or military training zones. Israel didn’t evacuate one settlement under this peace treaty. Instead, it began evacuating Palestinians.
[…]
The financial agreement which accompanied Oslo – the Paris Protocol – is keeping the Palestinian economy as a captive market for Israeli decision-makers and capitalists. Israel is collecting taxes for the Palestinians – and using them for diplomatic leverage. Under the Paris Protocol, the Palestinians are not allowed to have a central bank or use their own currency. In short, it is an agreement that was designed to make sure that regardless of other developments, the Palestinian economy will remain occupied.

It is not surprising then that Israel is doing whatever it can to prevent the Palestinians from walking away from Oslo or the Paris Protocol. The Palestinian Authority is exactly where Israel wants it – too weak and dependent on Israel and foreign donors to present a serious challenge to the occupier, but strong enough to oppress its own people (and it is treated by Israel with the same contempt all occupiers have for their collaborators). This is the reason for the financial aid Israel recently transferred to the Palestinians at the first sign of unrest. 250 million NIS is a tiny sum compared to the diplomatic meltdown and the financial costs that would accompany a move to the old model of direct occupation.

As Oslo – signed as an interim accord for six years – enters its twentieth year, it’s becoming clear that the only thing that the Palestinians got from the agreement was the right to raise their flag, given to them on day one. Today, Oslo is the occupation. The sooner we get rid of it, the better.

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Ma'an: Activists call for Friday protests against rising prices

Activists have called for demonstrations in cities across the West Bank after noon prayers Friday to protest rising prices and the Palestinian Authority's economic policies.

In a call spread on Facebook, activists said the protests would call for social justice, the cancellation of economic agreements with Israel and the resignation of PA premier Salam Fayyad...

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http://twitter.com/#!/search/realtime/%23palProtests

Mark.

10 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

[youtube]FN0gZlDR3_g[/youtube]

Mark.

10 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Another perspective on Israeli-Palestinian relations:

[youtube]mJVWtSOemy4[/youtube]

Several filmmakers have tackled the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. But few have approached the thorny subject quite like French Jewish filmmaker Yolande Zauberman and her Lebanese writing partner Sélim Nassib: through the prism of sex.

In their new documentary “Would You Have Sex With an Arab?”, Zauberman and Nassib take to the streets of Tel Aviv at night, prowling bars and clubs, cafés and underground soirées, in search of Israeli Jews and Arabs willing to answer a startling question: Would you have sex with a member of the other community?

“Would You Have Sex With an Arab?” never aims to dissect the historical or political twists and turns of a bitter conflict. Rather, it is a wistful portrait of a damaged society in which human dynamics are often far more complex than we are led to believe – and in which deeply buried reserves of desire and regret are coaxed toward the surface, thanks to one single provocative query.

Here are some highlights from France24.com’s interview with the filmmakers…

Read the interview here

Mark.

10 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

[quote=+972]

As if Israel hasn’t been playing the victim long enough, as if it hasn’t exploited the Six Million to the absolute limit, now comes a new weapon: the “Jewish Refugees from Arab Countries.” This has long been an Israeli answer to the Palestinian refugees – that roughly as many Middle Eastern Jews as Palestinians lost their homes because of the 1948 war. This week, though, the government made the issue a major new front in its information war…[/quote]

A response from a group of Iraqi Jews in Israel:

“It is far from the first instance of tampering with, exploiting, and deleting our history, but it is the straw that broke the camel’s back, and so … we formed the Committee of Baghdadi Jews in Ramat-Gan.”

This is how writer, poet and activist Almog Behar described a decision by a group of Jews from Arab and Kurdish backgrounds to speak out forcefully against renewed Israeli government propaganda efforts to counter Palestinian refugee rights by using the claims of Jews who left Arab countries for Israel in the 1950s.

Israeli diplomats, Haaretz reported last week, “have been instructed to raise the issue of Jewish refugees from Arab countries at every relevant forum. This is part of a new international campaign to create parity between the plight of Jewish and Palestinian refugees, Deputy Foreign Minister Daniel Ayalon announced on Monday.”

“The way the Israeli establishment uses our history from the 1950s, is not in order to give us our rights back, but in order to get rid of the rights of the Palestinians, and avoiding a peace agreement with them,” Behar wrote to The Electronic Intifada.

The idea is that Palestinian refugee and property rights are negated by equivalent claims from Jews from Arab countries, thus absolving Israel of having to make any restitution to Palestinians. Jews who left Iraq and some other Arab countries in the 1950s for Israel were deprived of their property and citizenship.

But in an extraordinary statement posted on Facebook last week, the newly-formed Committee of Baghdadi Jews in Ramat-Gan, of which Behar is a founding member, hit back:

We are seeking to demand compensation for our lost property and assets from the Iraqi government - NOT from the Palestinian Authority - and we will not agree with the option that compensation for our property be offset by compensation for the lost property of others (meaning, Palestinian refugees) or that said compensation be transferred to bodies that do not represent us (meaning, the Israeli government).

The statement went on to demand an investigation of Israel’s complicity in the departure of Iraqi Jews from their homeland including in terrorist acts against Jews:

We demand the establishment of an investigative committee to examine:

1) If and by what means negotiations were carried out in 1950 between Israeli Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion and Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri as-Said, and if Ben-Gurion informed as-Said that he is authorized to take possession of the property and assets of Iraqi Jewry if he agreed to send them to Israel;

2) who ordered the bombing of the Masouda Shem-Tov synagogue in Baghdad, and if the Israeli Mossad and/or its operatives were involved. If it is determined that Ben-Gurion did, in fact, carry out negotiations over the fate of Iraqi Jewish property and assets in 1950, and directed the Mossad to bomb the community’s synagogue in order to hasten our flight from Iraq, we will file a suit in an international court demanding half of the sum total of compensation for our refugee status from the Iraqi government and half from the Israeli government.

Continue reading here

Entdinglichung

10 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

http://challenge-mag.com/en/article__337

The hot Palestinian summer

by Yacov Ben Efrat

We can relax: the disturbances in the Occupied Territories appear to have subsided, and the would-be third Intifada may have skipped over 2012 as it did over 2011. Back then it was supposed to break out after Abu Mazen vainly sought a Palestinian state at the UN Security Council. Israeli intelligence missed the mark in 2011 and misled others. This year, when all its analysts were worrying about how to get through the Jewish holidays in peace and quiet, they completely missed what was about to happen in the Palestinian territories. The protest broke out in reaction against a hike in petrol prices, derived from a similar price hike by the Israeli government, which seeks to reduce its budgetary deficit. After the Israeli social protestors tired and lost interest in demonstrations, the baton has passed to the Palestinians, who suffer many times more from the cost of living. What can you do: after 45 years of an Occupation that flooded their markets with Israeli goods, they too eat Tnuva cottage cheese, whose price triggered protest in Israel last year.

The Palestinian response to the petrol hike came very fast and was far less polite than the Israeli version. The Palestinians weren't ashamed to shout that their prime minister, Salam Fayyad, should "get the hell out!" As for Israeli PM Bibi Netanyahu, he didn't need to form a new Trajtenberg Committee to pacify the Palestinians. He simply injected $250 million from the taxes he collects for the Palestinian Authority (PA), thus enabling it to pay part of its August salaries. Fayyad too was compelled to roll back the increase on petrol prices, as well as reduce the Value Added Tax (VAT) from 17% (the Israeli rate) to 15%.
Occupation economics

The Palestinian protest, like the Arab Spring, is not aimed directly against Israel, and this fact bothers Netanyahu. The hatred is not against Jews, rather against the PA that is supposed to be serving them. The demonstrating Palestinian youth understand that the protests against the Israeli checkpoints work in favor of the PA leaders, who like to blame the Occupation for their society's ills, shrugging off responsibility. However, ever since the signing of the Oslo Accords in 1993, the Israeli Occupation has acquired a new form. Israel outsourced control over the Palestinian population, creating the PA as a service contractor. The latter is supposed to keep the peace and provide the residents with services, financed by donors like the EU, the US and the rich Arab states.

Like every subcontractor, the PA cuts itself a fat coupon on the workers' account, and the donor money greases the wheels of its high officials, business cronies, clerks and police (whose function is not at all clear). Beneath this thin layer is the vast majority, who suffer from unemployment of at least 20% (30%, according to the General Secretary of the Palestinian Trade Unions) and a daily wage of $12 or so. It is clear that the arrangement cannot go on forever. The same reality was a factor leading to the second Intifada in the year 2000 and the rise of Hamas. The same reality is preparing the conditions for the third Intifada, which will be directed this time against the subcontractor and will dispel the fond illusion which goes by the name "Palestinian state."

Economically speaking, we live in a binational state. The government of Israel is the sovereign in all economic areas: the Bank of Israel determines, by means of the shekel, the PA's currency policy, while Israel's Treasury Secretary controls PA fiscal policy by means of the "customs envelope" common to both parties. The problem is that the economic control in no way obliges Israel, because Israeli law is irrelevant in the PA territories. The labor laws, the national insurance, and all the public services which exist in Israel do not apply to the residents of the PA.

The outcome is social tragedy. The prices are Israeli prices, but the services and the wages are more like those in Syria and Egypt. Poverty rises—and with it anger at the PA leaders and their allies who benefit from the arrangement. The economic situation is similar to that in other Arab lands. A Palestinian Spring, long in the bud, can sprout at any moment.

The economic crisis in Europe and the US also has a part in the timing of the protests. The donor nations have cooled toward the PA. The Arab Spring has opened opportunities elsewhere, whereas the money that flows into PA coffers does not go to building an economy, rather only to financing the pleasures of the middle class, which consumes but does not produce. Israeli intransigence on a peace accord and the establishment of an independent Palestine have created an impression of pouring good money into a bottomless barrel.

To what have the donations contributed? To the creation of a big consumer bubble. Until now, the gap between PA salaries and the rise in the cost of living was bridged by loans from banks, which have sprouted like mushrooms. Today, when donations begin to dwindle while the PA deficit swells, it is clear that the party is grinding to an end. If in the past the middle class got benefits from the Oslo Accords, receiving mortgages and buying cars on credit, today it can no longer pay its debts. As in Israel, so in the West Bank, it was the middle class that first went out to demonstrate. The holdback on salaries, the petrol price hike, and the VAT propelled them into the streets. As in the Arab countries, the protest of the middle class opens a gateway for the protest of the poor, which will be more angry and more violent.
The PA on the verge of bankruptcy

Like Greece, Spain, and Ireland, the PA is on the edge of bankruptcy. But it has no Germany or Bank of Europe to bail it out, rather only Israel, and the coinage is not the euro, rather the shekel, which Israel controls. There is no chance in the world that the Bank of Israel will decide on a package to save the PA when it can't even save the million destitute Israelis. "The poor of your land come first," and the poor of the neighboring autonomy will have to manage alone.

However, the bankruptcy of the subcontractor places the boss before a hard choice. The fall of the PA will leave Israel alone in responsibility for the Occupied Territories. The result is paradoxical: The more Israel deepens its hold and builds settlements, the more it weakens the PA, increasing its own responsibility for those trapped behind the separation barrier which it built.

The Palestinian demonstrators demand cancellation of the Paris Agreement, the economic part of Oslo, for it chains them to the Israeli economy—as if the cancellation alone might lay the economic foundation for an independent state. But there's a fly in the ointment. Independence would mean not just control of the currency and of fiscal policy, but also the definition of the territory where the Palestinian law and economy will apply. Such a definition, however, is something that Israel refuses to discuss, and the settlement project makes the problem insoluble. The demand to cancel the Paris Agreement therefore puts the cart before the horse. The way to gain economic independence from Israel is first to gain political independence, that is, to cancel the Oslo Accords to which the Paris Agreement belongs.

Netanyahu is conducting a much publicized campaign on the issue of Iran and the bomb. He is ready to send planes 3000 kilometers in order to save Israel from an imagined new Holocaust. But right outside his window the ground is quaking. The Palestinians are again being pushed, with excessive force, into the Israeli agenda. Bibi sees far-off Iran, but he won't look into his own backyard. His economic policy and his political blindness are creating the conditions for a new round of violence.

Despite all the attempts to hide this reality, it is coming to meet us. The moment is approaching when Israel will have to decide between a return to full military and civil control over the Territories or, alternatively, withdrawal and abandonment of the settlements in order to enable an independent Palestine. Given that there is no political arrangement in sight, a Palestinian Spring becomes almost the only choice. Like Assad in Syria, Bibi may then send his soldiers to put down demonstrations by the Palestinian poor, but if he does this, then he, like Assad, will lose all legitimacy, and so will the nation he leads.

Mark.

10 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

So what happened to the Israeli social justice protests?

IlanS

There were high hopes at the beginning of the year both about the joint struggle against the occupation, about the social struggle, and about the treatment of guest workers families and the refugees. In all three of them there is a clear setback. Only one village (Qadumm) was added to the persistent weekly demonstrations, and settler colonialists harassments intensify the efforts to transfer villagers fro area C. Most of the activists of last year social struggle were lured to the parliamentary quagmire. Many of the guest worker families with children an lot of refugees were deported. More and more refugees are arrested and taken to the huge concentration camp most of the refugees are supposed to be incarcerated in... In spite of disappointment and the Autumn blues the struggle continue...

http://ilanisagainstwalls.blogspot.co.uk/2012/09/palestine-israel-joint-struggle-is.html

Mark.

10 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Dimi Reider on his translation of Yehouda Shenhav's book 'Beyond the two state solution: A Jewish Political Essay'

Tel Aviv sociologist Yehouda Shenhav - in a surprising move for an academic long identified in the public eye as far to the left - forcefully argues the case for expanding the conversation to include Jewish rights in his new book, Beyond the two state solution: A Jewish Political Essay.

Originally published as Trapped by the Green Line and due for publication this month with my translation, the book caused quite a stir in Israel, demolishing virtually every aspect of the Green Line's image as a progressive artifact and, again, remarkably for an author identified strongly with the radical left, coming out in force against the eviction of settlements from a moral as well as a pragmatic perspective.

The book has drawn considerable criticism and consternation on the centre-left but was welcomed by many on the further left - and right - of the Israeli public sphere, including figures in the settler movement as prominent as Uri Elitzur, Benjamin Netanyahu's former chief of staff and the deputy editor of the main settler paper, Makor Rishon.
[…]
In his book, Shenhav asks: "Are there indeed two states? If so, who provides the settlements with economic and physical infrastructure? Who provides them with telephone lines, sanitation, electricity and water? Who provides them with health-care and education? And what of the role of organisations such as the Histadrut Federation of Labour Unions, the JNF, the Jewish Agency and the United Jewish Appeal as subcontractors of the occupation? Why is there a special council for higher education (for Jews only) in the West Bank?

Who provides the legal infrastructure for the expropriation of lands? Who provides the engineering and construction services for the roads that cross the West Bank? As Israeli journalist Amira Hass has pointed out, the settlements are not a spontaneous and random undertaking by eccentrics, but rather a national project of the Israeli state."

For all their undeniable success, the settlements remain fortified, isolated ghettos sustained by nothing but fear. Some settlers have started to understand this and are actively pursuing accommodation and engagement with Palestinian neighbours, including joint ecological projects and solidarity visits to mosques defiled by extremist settlers.

Shenhav sees the settlements not only as a physical, military and legal issue, but a rights anomaly that can be rectified without necessitating the eviction of residents who by now have clocked at least a generation living where they live - which is to say, without requiring the fixing of one wrong by committing another.

The return of 350,000 to 500,000 settlers to within the Green Line is not a realistic option, Shenhav points out. "Many of the settlers hold prominent positions in the Israeli army and are controlled by their rabbis. What's more, the liberal left is not dealing at all with the moral questions and threat of violence pertaining to such an evacuation. Would it be possible to cast out members of the third generation because their fathers and mothers ate sour grapes? The settlement issue requires more serious consideration."
[…]
For Shenhav, one of the key rights crying out for reciprocal recognition is freedom of movement and residence, for all those living and with a historical claim to the land between the river and the sea, whether Palestinian or Jewish. It is a powerful departure from current discourse...

http://www.thejc.com/comment-and-debate/comment/78617/rights-are-key-—-and-theyre-mutual

jonthom

10 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

The Ramat Gan Committee now has a blog.

Alf

10 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

A sympathiser of our Spanish section has written what looks to be a powerful and analytical article about the movement in 'Palestine':

'Protestas masivas en Cisjordania contra el coste de la vida, el paro y la Autoridad Palestina'

http://es.internationalism.org/node/3484

Any Spanish speakers here? We are aiming to translate it - any offers of help received gratefully.

Mark.

10 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I guess I'm not going to translate it but I've skimmed through and it seems like a reasonable article, though there are things I'd disagree with. Maybe it should be posted up on libcom when you do get it translated.

Alf

10 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

OK, we will get it done and put it up when we can...then maybe you can explain what you don't agree with. But it can't be for a week or more, so other offers of help still welcome.....

Mark.

10 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Alf - did you get anywhere with translating that article?

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From +972:

From factories to farms, labor union champions rights of Palestinians in Israel

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[quote=Budour Hassan]

Back from an anti-Abbas protest in ‪#Jerusalem‬ where we were beaten and harassed by pro-Abbas thugs as Israeli soldiers gleefully watched.

I will write an article about what happened today in ‪#Jerusalem‬ when I calm down. I'm still a bit shocked, to be honest.[/quote]

Also

A large anti-Abbas protest was brutally attacked by PA security forces in Al-Khalil/Hebron. Two protesters were arrested.

Entdinglichung

10 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

http://supportkurds.org/news/wednesday-7-november-2012/

PALESTINIAN INFIGHTING

Highlighting how Palestinian refugees have been drawn into the conflict, rebels killed 10 members of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command (PFLP-GC), which is loyal to Assad, in fighting near the Palestinian camp of Yarmouk in Damascus, opposition sources said.

Syrian rebels and pro-opposition Palestinians announced the formation of a new brigade last week to battle the PFLP-GC.

The Syrian foreign ministry said Syria would stand “with full determination against any attempt to drag the Palestinians into what is happening in Syria”, the state news agency SANA reported, quoting a ministry official.

Alf

10 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Finally got the article on the west bank protests done: http://en.internationalism.org/worldrevolution/201211/5291/demonstrations-west-bank-jordan

Mark.

10 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Alf - thanks for the link.

Alf

10 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

You're welcome. Earlier you mentioned that there were some points you didn't agree with - I'd be interested in hearing what they were.

Mark.

10 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Alf

Finally got the article on the west bank protests done: http://en.internationalism.org/worldrevolution/201211/5291/demonstrations-west-bank-jordan

Earlier you mentioned that there were some points you didn't agree with - I'd be interested in hearing what they were.

I've just read through this again and I can't actually find much to disagree with. I can't remember what I picked up on before so it probably wasn't that important. It would be interesting to get reactions from Palestinians and Israelis but I suspect this kind of discussion now happens on Twitter and Facebook rather than forums like libcom.

Mark.

10 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

The article in full in case anyone wants to comment...

Massive demonstrations on the West Bank against the cost of living, unemployment, and the Palestinian Authority

In the Middle East, so often on the front pages as a result of military massacres and barbarism, rivalries between different imperialist gangsters who have taken the civil population hostage, and of all sorts of hatreds and nationalist, ethnic, or religious movements (which the ‘democratic’ western powers foment and encourage as it suits their interests); when the bourgeois press has been preoccupied in recent days with the disturbances in the Muslim world  caused by films and cartoons caricaturing Mohammed – virtually nothing is being written about the big demonstrations and strikes during the month of September against the effects of the capitalist crisis on the lives of the proletariat and the oppressed strata in the Palestinian territories on the West Bank. And yet these have been the biggest demonstrations for years1 .    
 
In an often desperate situation, the proletariat and the exploited population in the Palestinian territories, subject to military occupation, to blockades and total contempt for their lives and their suffering by the Israeli state, finds it very difficult to escape the influences of nationalism and Islamism, to avoid being dragooned by the various organisations that wage ‘armed resistance’ against Israel – in other words, heading for the sacrificial altar faced with a vastly superior military force. But it is the precisely the struggle against the effects of the profound economic crisis of world capitalism which opens up the possibility of massive proletarian struggles on an international scale, of going beyond sectional, national, ethnic or other divisions within the working class, of breaking out of all kinds of illusions and mystifications (illusions in ‘democracy’ under capitalism, in ‘national liberation’, etc).

Strikes and demonstrations

What unleashed the wave of strikes and demonstrations was the announcement by the government led by Prime Minister Fayyad2 of an increase in the price of basic products like food and petrol. This was the spark which lit the fires of defiance towards the Palestinian Authority. The latter is more and more regarded as a nest of corrupt careerists, protecting a whole caste of Palestinian capitalists of whom Fayyad is the personification. It doesn’t even have a semblance of legitimacy: there has been no electoral circus since 2006 and it’s in conflict with Hamas. It is incapable of solving the least problem of the Palestinian economy which is totally dependent on foreign gifts, which is strangled by the military occupation and Israel’s exhaustive controls over imports and exports, prices, taxes and natural resources (thanks to the Paris accords, the economic annex to the Oslo agreement).

Already during the summer, the malaise gave rise to various protests. For example, at the end of June, a demonstration in Ramallah following the announcement of a meeting between president Abbas and the Israeli Deputy PM, Shauz Mofaz, ended with brutal repression by the Palestinian police.

With massive unemployment (57% according to the UN, and particularly heavy among young people), and a cost of living which means that the majority of population are struggling to eat, and with growing discontent throughout the population (for example, 150,000 government employees are owed back wages), the announcement of the price increases on 1st September was the detonator.

From 4 September massive demonstrations for the improvement of living conditions took place day after day on the West Bank (Hebron, Ramallah, Jenin, etc). The demonstrations were also directed against israeli control of the economy of the territories (the Paris accords), but it was clear that the discontent was not limited to an anti-Israeli or nationalist sentiment. The focus of the demonstrations were living and working conditions. In Ramallah the young people cried “Before we were fighting for Palestine, now we are fighting for a bag of flour”3 .

At the beginning of the protests, Abbas, involved in a power struggle with his rival Fayyad, showed sympathy for the “Palestinian spring”. But as the demonstrations developed and the expression of discontent was aimed not only at the Fayyad government or the Paris accords, but against the Palestinian Authority itself, Fatah, which at the beginning had played a certain role in channelling and even organising demonstrations, did everything it could to prevent their radicalisation and extension.

We can say the same about Hamas, which no doubt profited from the mobilisations to try to destabilise the current PA government, but which drew back in the face of the breadth of the movement and the danger of contagion in Gaza. 

In Nablus, a demonstrator declared: “We are here to say to the government that enough is enough...we want a government which lives like the people live and eats what the people eat”4 . A placard in the village of Beit Jala put it like this: “We are tired of all the talk of reforms...one government after another...one minister after another...and corruption is still there”5 .

In Jenin, the demonstrators demanded a minimum wage, the creation of jobs for all the unemployed and the reduction of the cost of signing on at university. Prime minister Fayyad announced that he was ready to resign.

The massive demonstrations continued, with road blockades and clashes with the police of the Palestinian authority. On 10 September a general transport strike began on the appeal of the unions. Taxi drivers, truckers, bus drivers participated massively. Many sectors, like the employees of the day nurseries, joined the strike. The movement widened. On the 11th the students and high school pupils struck for 24 hours in solidarity with the general strike.

Workers from all the Palestinian universities, together with the students, called a general strike for September 13.

Faced with this situation, and following a meeting with the trade unions, the government announced that it was postponing the price rises, that it would pay half of the wages owed to public employees since August, and that it would make cuts in the salaries and privileges of the politicians and high officials of the PA.

On the 14th, the transport union cancelled the call for a strike because “constructive negotiations” had begun with the PA.

Thus, the massive protests seemed to have calmed down, at least temporarily, but the social malaise had not gone away. The unions of the public employees and the primary school teachers announced mobilisations and work stoppages for the 17th. The unions in the health sector announced on September 18 that they would also begin movements if their demands (increased staffing, improved mobility and chances of promotion for the workers) were still ignored by the government.

The movements seem to have been limited to the West Bank area controlled by the PA.

The importance of the movement

Apart from the particular, concrete elements of the movement, its whole importance lies in the region in which it is taking place. This is a region of interminable bloody imperialist conflicts, whether directly between states or via various pawns6 . It is the civil population which suffers the consequences of all this7 and has become fertile soil for the development of reactionary nationalist and religious movements. But above all we should stress that the movement is taking place at the same time as similar movements in the region and internationally. Let’s not forget the big mobilisations last summer in Israel against the high cost of living; despite its weaknesses and its democratic illusions, this movement is an important first step towards breaking the ‘national union’ in a highly militarised state like Israel. Let’s not forget the great workers’ strikes in Egypt which were a decisive moment in the fall of the USA’s protégé Mubarak.

The proletariat and the oppressed strata in Palestine, and everywhere else, need to understand that the only hope for living in peace and dignity, which is the real wish of the immense majority of the Palestinian population, lies in the development of massive struggles alongside all the exploited in the region, beyond all national or religious divisions. Breaking the Palestinian ‘national union’, uniting its struggles, firstly with the exploited and the oppressed in Israel and the entire region – that is the only weapon that can weaken and stay the murderous hand of the Israeli state and of other imperialist gangsters. ‘Armed struggle’ means submitting to the interests of the different nationalist or religious groups and can only lead to endless slaughter and suffering and the strengthening of Palestine’s corrupt exploiting class.

The exploited of Palestine and the rest of the world must have no doubt: if they don’t fight for their own class interests against capitalism, if they allow themselves to be dragged into struggles for national or racial ‘liberation’, if they submit to the ‘general interests of the country’, i.e. the general interests of the bourgeoisie and its state, the present and the future which awaits them under the capitalist system is the same that Mandela’s ANC has reserved for its ‘brothers’ and ‘fellow countrymen’ who work in the mines: poverty, exploitation, and death.

Draba 23 September 2012

  • 1A good deal of the little information that can be found is obviously centred on the Israeli occupation and on ‘anti-imperialism’ (i.e. ‘anti-Americanism’ and anti the allies of America), like the Cuban agency Prensa Latina or the Iranian state TV agency Press TV, media which are always so comfortable with nationalist movements. The forums, in Spain at any rate, of the left and extreme left of capital (such as lahaine.org, kaosenlared.net or rebelion.org) have also not shown much interest in these events. If we understand it right, ‘solidarity with the Palestinian people’ is limited to moments when the latter are used in support of different interests on the world imperialist chess-board or to provide publicity for some patriotic cause. When they struggle against ‘their’ government and break ‘national unity’ to defend their living conditions, that struggle isn’t worth talking about.
  • 2The IMF’s man nominated by Abbas in 2007 in the context of the war with Hamas and under pressure from the USA.
  • 3http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=517262
  • 4http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=517618
  • 5http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=518944
  • 6The links between Iran and Syria and Hamas are well known, as well as between Assad’s Syria and Russia, its main ally among the great powers, and Iran, its main regional ally.
  • 7Let’s not forget that the war between Hamas and Fatah for the control of the Gaza strip in 2007 led to many deaths and much suffering among the civil population – the ‘collateral damage’ of ‘national liberation’. http://www.haaretz.com/news/human-rights-watch-condemns-hamas-fatah-for-war-crimes-1.223006, and http://libcom.org/news/palestinian-union-hit-all-sides-25072007

Alf

10 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Thanks for posting this. One thing that is crystal clear about the current military escalation is that it will run directly counter to the social movements on both sides of the divide. the Israeli state will use the 'war' to drown any protest about living standards, and Hamas and Fatah will do the same.

jonthom

10 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

World Have Your Say recently had a discussion between Israelis and Palestinians about the conflict, including input (starts around 10:00 in) from Leehee Rothschild of Anarchists Against the Wall.

Ed

10 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Anti-war protest in Tel Aviv with pro-war counter protest.. the pro-war folk are completely nuts and their rhetoric so plainly fascist ("expel the leftists", "we celebrate the Naqba" etc etc), it's a bit of a shock to watch..
[youtube]RJ2klbPtvpA[/youtube]

Alf

10 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

We've produced an article on the current conflict, contrasting the dynamic of war with the hope offered by the social movements on both sides. We will also try to produce a more analytical article about why the conflicts in the region have been exacerbating in the recent period.

http://en.internationalism.org/forum/1056/red-flag/5345/israelgaza-attacks

omega watches

10 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

News of the protests spread through social media, echoing a successful Facebook campaign last month when consumers forced down the spiralling price of dairy products.

Alf

10 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Sorry, this is the correct link - the other one was to a dscussion on our forum

http://en.internationalism.org/icconline/201211/5352/israelpalestine-populations-held-hostage-imperialist-war

wojtek

10 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Munib al-Masri is one of the most famous and influential Palestinians, but you may never have heard of him.

Often called 'The Godfather' Masri, on no fewer than three occasions, turned down the premiership of Palestine.

He has a fortune estimated at $1.6 billion, and is chairman of the powerful Palestine Development and Investment Company (Padico), a firm whose interests respresent an estimated one-quarter of the whole Palestinian economy.

http://www.aljazeera.com/programmes/frostinterview/2012/11/2012111215181959306.html

Alf

9 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Interesting but....the central issue in "breaking the nationalist habit" is to challenge the division between Irsaeli and Palestinian proletarians. A huge problem on both sides of the divide and probably even harder for Palestinian comrades. The interviewed Palestinian anarchist doesn't deal with the question directly and the second piece identifies Israel as THE problem.

Highlander

9 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I understand RT is a Russian, English-language news channel, a kind of Aljazeera or CNN? Anybody knows more about this channel?

They have some quite good anti-Western features, but of course their coverage of Russian news is almost non-existant.

And I'm not talking about one with Lebanon - Iran is more likely

The entire Persian Gulf, the Caucasus, and much of Central Asia actually belongs to Iran. It would be a superpower but for the opposition of America, Israel and Saudi Arabia. Since this suppression has apparently been successful these nations fondly imagine that they can go still further and actually attack Iran in order to create a convenient enemy for their domestic political agendas. In fact Iran is merely dormant and its right to global superpower status is not simply based on ancient history or the possession of strategic territory.
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2097087/Irans-female-ninja-assassins-3-000-women-training-defend-Muslim-state.html
(Seems like a joke but it really isn't...)

Entdinglichung

9 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Highlander

I understand RT is a Russian, English-language news channel, a kind of Aljazeera or CNN? Anybody knows more about this channel?

They have some quite good anti-Western features, but of course their coverage of Russian news is almost non-existant.

according to a friend basically Russian state propaganda (financed by the state) but with some good documentaries on ethnographic, nature, historical stuff

Chilli Sauce

9 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

RT's definitely good for more in-depth (and critical) perspectives on Europe, Israel, and America. To it's credit, it really avoids the soundbite news coverage of most mainstreams media channels.

Just don't expect the same when the topic is Russia.