Israel/Palestine social protests

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Aug 2 2011 12:32

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!

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Aug 2 2011 14:32

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

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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.

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Aug 2 2011 14:34

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

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Aug 2 2011 16:26
baboon wrote:
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:

Quote:
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."

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Aug 2 2011 16:01
Khawaga wrote:
Entdichlingung wrote:
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
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Aug 2 2011 19:35

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.
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Aug 2 2011 20:23
baboon wrote:
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.

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Aug 2 2011 20:05
Sabot wrote:
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...

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Aug 2 2011 20:15
rooie wrote:
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 wrote:
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.
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Aug 2 2011 21:37
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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/

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Aug 2 2011 21:53

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

Mark.
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Aug 2 2011 22:42
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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

Quote:
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.

Quote:
"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..."
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Aug 2 2011 23:18
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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

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Quote:
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
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Aug 3 2011 00:00

Khawaga:

Quote:
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
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Aug 3 2011 03:03

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

Quote:
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:

Quote:
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.

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Aug 3 2011 09:04
Khawaga wrote:
Sabot wrote:
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)

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Aug 3 2011 09:09

Yacov Ben Efrat: The Tent Intifada (Challenge)

Mark.
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Aug 3 2011 10:54

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

Sergio Yahni wrote:
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.


Mark.
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Aug 3 2011 11:00

Report on Anarkismo

Samotnaf
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Aug 3 2011 13:34
Quote:
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
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Aug 3 2011 14:14

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?

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Aug 3 2011 16:52
rooie wrote:
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.
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Aug 4 2011 09:13

Saturday's demo in Tel Aviv

-----

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

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

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

Quote:
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

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Aug 3 2011 22:47

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.. smile

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Aug 4 2011 00:25
rooieravotr wrote:
Found this article, not too bad, considering its source, Green Left in Australia.
As for Arbeitens remark,
Quote:
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.

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Aug 4 2011 00:25
Quote:
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's picture
Entdinglichung
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Aug 4 2011 08:13

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

Quote:
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

Quote:
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.
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Ed
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Aug 4 2011 08:42

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:

Quote:
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.. smile

Mark.
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Aug 4 2011 10:45

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

Quote:
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 wrote:
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.

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Steven.
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Aug 4 2011 09:25

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.