While Tipsy Livni attempts to align herself with the tent protest social justice movement, pouting that
“The government is deceased even if the obituary has yet to be published. The public understands that this government represents everything that is ugly from day one, its ministers and deputy ministers are redundant.
“Sowing fear of external threats, muzzling, an impervious government – for all these reasons we went out to the streets with one message and different reasons, for social justice and against Benjamin Netanyahu.”
20 of her 28 Kadima Knesset compatriots are supporting a fascist bill which ‘would make democratic rule subservient to the state’s definition as “the national home for the Jewish people.”‘
‘According to Elkin, the law is intended to give the courts reasoning that supports “the state as the Jewish nation state in ruling in situations in which the Jewish character of the state clashes with its democratic character.”
Elkin said: “The courts deal with this issue quite a lot, such as with the Law of Return as a discriminatory law.”
The bill redefines basic consensus regarding the character of the state. For example, it also proposes that Hebrew would be the only official language in Israel, as opposed to the present situation – based on current mandatory law, Arabic and English are also recognized as official languages.
The bill accords Arabic “special status,” and states that Arabic speakers “have the right to linguistic access to the services of the state, as determined by law.”
Another clause states that Jewish law will be a source of inspiration to the legislature and the courts.
This would mean that MKs would be asked to legislate in the spirit of Jewish law, and courts to adjudicate by it in cases where no other express law exists. In the language of the bill: “If the court sees a legal question requiring a ruling, and finds no solution in legislation, custom or clear analogy, it will rule in light of the principles of freedom, justice, integrity and peace in Jewish heritage.”
The bill also calls on the state to “act to ingather the exiles of Israel and [further] Jewish settlement within it, and allocate resources to this end.”
As for other ethnic groups in Israel, according to the bill: “The state is permitted to allow a community, including people of another faith or nation, to maintain a separate community.”
Elkin says he is not concerned over the implications of the bill for the image of Israel internationally. “If we were talking about the world in which the United Nations equates Zionism with racism, there might be a problem. But today the world is ready to accept this,” he said.
As opposed to other Basic Laws, this one can only be changed by passing another Basic Law in its stead.
The bill was formulated on the initiative of, and jointly with, the Institute for Zionist Strategies, a conservative think tank.
Elkin and Rotem have supported a number of controversial pieces of legislation presented during the Knesset summer session. They include the successfully-passed Boycott Law, which calls for economic sanctions on people who boycott West Bank settlements; and laws restricting the activities of associations that oppose the existence of Israel and requiring political groups to reveal sources of funding they received from foreign countries. ‘
Kadima cannnot escape the fact that it too, along with Likud and the Labour parties, is mired in neoliberalism, a love for US hegemony, militarism and acceptance of the hideous Occupation. None of these parties can be trusted to adher to a platform based on real social justice.
The street protests are a broad-based movement with Palestinian rights represented at Tent No. 1948 which supports one state co-existence. Even the settler Yesha Council has been welcomed into the movement because of its ‘political influence’. Yet despite the high sustaining cost to the occupying Israeli entity and outrageously generous subsidies to illegal settlers by the state, a call for the end of the occupation is not one of the key demands of the tent protest. In Israel itself, Palestinians are particularly discriminated against in regard to housing.
All the residents are suffering from the price rises, but the Arab residents in particular feel as if they are being pushed out with nowhere to go.
“When the landlord heard me speak Arabic to my husband, he said, ‘Sorry, we don’t rent to Arabs,” said Wafa Abu Shamis, 37 and a mother of three, recalling a recent effort to check out an apartment. Those present confirm that such stories are common.
Yossi Gurvitz considers that if Palestinian rights were brought into the fore, the social justice movement would be ‘fractured too soon’ (Max Ajl queries Yossi’s admonishments about sneering at the protests here), while Dimi Reider and Aziz Abij Sarah conjecture that
‘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.’
On the ground in Tel Aviv, Palestinian Sami Kishawi is concerned about the lack of prominence of support for justice for Palestinians:
The way many demonstrators are pitching it to me, these protests are an opportunity for coalition building, an opportunity to bring down the government’s current “security first, people second” policy and subsequently elevate the minority voices. But I have yet to see any of that happen on a concrete basis, and until I hear these demands making headlines as well, the protests will remain fundamentally flawed, at least in my eyes.’
Alex Pushkin describes the non-sectarian nature of the protests:
‘Participants haven’t minced their words, which seem grandly aware that they are potentially making history. “We are broadcasting Revolution. We want a better Israel. We want Israel to be lived with a sense of justice, a State of love among all its citizens. Those of Beersheba and those from Raanana. These from Hebron and Tel Aviv. Jews and Arabs.”
A homeless single mother says “I’m here because I have no alternative. This is the tent of no choice. I ask for equal rights irrespective of degree, religion and nationality.”’
According to Joel Beinin, the inequitable spending by the Israeli government on illegal settlements is also out of focus.
‘The great majority of the protesters have insistently avoided linking the lack of investment in affordable housing to the vast sums invested to construct government-subsidized housing in Jewish settlements in East Jerusalem and the West Bank, build the infrastructure to support the settlements and sustain the military apparatus to defend them. A provocative article by Yediot Aharonot’s economics correspondent Gidion Eshet, published on July 28, suggested that the subsidized apartments the protesters are seeking are in the West Bank and that ending Israel’s settlement policy would free capital for construction of affordable housing in Israel.’
Political writer, Emma Rosenthal, makes some insightful observations on the anomalous nature of this new Israeli ‘social justice’ movement and protests within settler colonial states:
This contradiction isn’t new to popular uprisings within settler colonial states. I can’t remember the last left action in the U.S. on any basic need – wages, baill outs, jobs, unemployment, access to education, etc., that had indigenous rights (either in the U.S. or as victims of U.S. foreign policy) as a key component of the demonstration. Maybe an afterthought, a few aztec dancers, etc. a t-shirt that said “I hate paying rent on stolen land”, but not as a core, central demand as part of a workers’ movement. though one could argue that in the U.S. there is very little that is left, politically.
It’s not uncommon for the working class of a settler colonial or neo-colonial entity (the U.S. is both, the former, domestically, the latter, internationally) to be concerned when their own entitlements are threatened – their homes, their schools, their jobs, and to ignore the larger social context.
Could this bring Israelis into greater contradiction with the Israeli ruling class? that has yet to be seen. Seeing as they willingly go into the military in mandatory service, it seems unlikely. and that these protests may provide the ruling class with even another wedge between the Israeli working class, the Palestinians and “guest” workers.
It’s the difference between fighting for justice, or just us. I have yet to see the israeli working class separate itself from the Israeli ruling class (a key feature of the settler colonial narrative, as in the U.S.), and identify with the Palestinians or the guest workers.
Forming ANY real left within a settler colonial entity is very difficult.
With the passing of the new Housing bill, Nutanyahoo is playing it cool, at present drenching the media with positive hasbara. No doubt he is considering all options to dispel protest and protect his power base – some commentators think this might include war, others consider the situation might impel him to make a grand gesture for ‘peace’ with Palestinians. Might he also consider annexation of the Palestinian territories which the rightwing settler movement covets, concurrent with the PA’s declaration of a fake state in September? or ethnic cleansing of Palestinians from Israel? Nutanyahoo doesn’t seem concerned about a spill from Likud, despite the support by Likud members for the grassroots movement, and seems to be in hard sell mode.
In about six weeks, before the high holidays, Netanyahu will present a plan that will “change the face of the country,” the sources quoted him as saying.
Netanyahu said the plan’s main points were to break the monopolies that are preventing competition and to slash indirect taxes.
By the beginning of next week, Netanyahu will announce the makeup of a “dialogue team” to consist of ministers and economic experts. They will meet with the heads of the protest movement and hear their demands.
Netanyahu said he did not intend to meet with the protest leaders, who he believes are backed by leftist political parties and organizations. But he said he identifies with the grievances that are at the basis of the protest.
“This can be our great opportunity,” Netanyahu was quoted as saying. “No one can complain about the economy. The economy is working. But there are complaints, justified complaints, about the hardships of daily life, about the high cost of living.
“Everyone is asking me how I plan to deal with the political situation. My political strategy for the coming year is simple: Take real and serious care of these problems. My goal is not to dismantle the tents. They will not be dismantled. They are there to be there.”
Will Nutanyahoo’s gestures and machinations prove sufficient? will the social justice movement bring down the Likud government and install the other head of racist Israeli neoliberalism? or will the social justice movement create a party of its own with a winning platform for equal rights and justice for all? we’ll just have to wait and see.
Tali Shapiro takes an ironic view of the protests in her piece ‘Tahrir Envy: An Anti-Occupation Activist’s First Thoughts on the Tent Protests in Israel‘ :
‘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?” ‘
What is this Tent Protest really about? ‘This is a blind movement as long as it doesn’t address crucial issues which are the reason of all this.’
Settler leader, con merchant for Israeli theft, completely in denial in an inverted reality of privilege
Larry Derfner in another form of denial, clinging to the illusory two state solution
Housing activists add Israeli Arab concerns to list of demands
Livni: Netanyahu trying to quench Israel protests, not solve problems Is Livni talking about the settlers or the tycoons or both here :
“Governments who are led by a person that does not work for the good of the majority, but spends all their money on small segments of society – they generate complete distrust for the system”
But Livni takes care to reiterate the ever-present mantra that dictates zionism’s contradictions:
Livni took advantage of the opportunity to also attack the prime minister for his security policies. “Security and economy are connected. The protesters took to the streets because the country’s economic situation is good and the social situation is bad, and as the security situation worsens it will affect the economic situation.”
Some Likudists are panicking, calling the protests ‘leftist’ – others warn caution fearing such an epithet will drive the protesters to the left .
Anti-neoliberal tent protests are viralising? Israelis take tent protest to the White House
Netanyahu’s GONGOs (government sponsored “NGOs”) will hit the streets tomorrow to sabotage the tent protest with a mendacious “20% price cuts on 30 basic commodities, let the PM work, and end the protest” message.
Jewish Tahrir? Israel witnessing mass protests
Aziz Abu Sarah, a Palestinian-Israeli journalist, points out in this vid the overspending the Likud government has been making on housing in the illegal settlements – 3 or 4 times that which it spends in Israel, the resentment this creates in Israel where the majority of people are against the occupation, but says people still haven’t made the connection between government policy, the occupation and economic inequality.
‘Titled “Guidelines for a new social and economic agenda,” the eight initial demands include a reduction in indirect taxes (in particular VAT); the investment of surplus tax revenues in social programs by way of the state budget; the disbanding of a commission aimed at speeding up construction, but which protesters believe would only enrich building companies; an increase in the budget for the Ministry of Construction and Housing’s mortgage and rental assistance programs; free education from the age of three months; an increase in medical supplies and infrastructure at health facilities across Israel; a halt to the privatization of welfare and mental health facilities; and a gradual cancellation of private-contractor- run construction projects in the public sector.’
Militarist whining. : ‘The people in the streets today are Israel’s elite. This is the public that shoulders the burden of (IDF) service, labor, and taxes. If tomorrow we have to fight, there is a link between this public and national strength. That is this is heading towards collapse.” ‘
Setting the scene for another convenient threat? Senior Israeli Navy commander:
Hamas, Hezbollah threaten our ports and oil rigs : According to Levi, Hezbollah’s model “is being copied today to the Gaza Strip. In the future, we will have to deal with missiles, torpedoes, mines, above-surface weapons and underwater ones, both in Gaza and Lebanon.” He added that Iran is a major player in the smuggling of naval weapons, and that “we assume that everything that Iran has can be brought to theaters closer to us.” ‘
‘In this interview firebrand grandmother Daniella Weiss, leader of radical settlers, appears to present the protesters as the modern version of the ten spies who famously gave the Children of Israel a negative report about the Land of Israel. The protesters’ negativity echoes the negativity of the spies, she claims. They “are lamenting, people are complaining, people see all the bad sides of life instead of seeing the prosperity of the Land of Israel.”’
‘But there is a very strong push against the protests in terms of the political debate. It’s not just the governments. It’s the entire elite that are pushing against these protests, and the more of a challenge they feel, the harder they’ll push.
I think the protests itself will disappear, but I also think that Netanyahu is coming to his showdown in September with the Palestinian leadership much weaker than he wanted. The entire world saw that he doesn’t have a consensus of Israelis behind him—I think that’s a pretty important achievement.’
For the last two weeks have seen greater delegitimization of Israel in the eyes of its supporters in the West than the last two years of the BDS movement. How will AIPAC and the Israel Campus Coalition spin this? That the protesters are not being shot at, like in Syria? But these are not protests that challenge the Israeli regime – these are protests that are asking for the government to do something.
Netanyahu could face pressure among his own backers: some 85 percent of Likud voters support the tent city campaign that has targeted the Israeli prime minister for criticism.
PM: Populism sweeping through Israel
Knesset okays housing committees’ bill
If it were up to Netanyahu, Israel would have been born privatized
Unlike the current Israeli protest movement, the Egyptian revolt has its roots in several years and thousands of trade union struggles. Both however address neoliberalism.
‘It all began on December 7, 2006 when workers in the industrial city of El-Mahalla El-Kubra broke the country’s 20-year strike hiatus over the government’s failure to fulfill promises it had made about bonuses. For three days the strikers occupied a factory, calling for the government-backed Labor Federation to be dismantled. The government buckled under the pressure and gave in to the workers’ demands, but the event opened a Pandora’s Box of strikes and protests across the country.
The strikers were responding to the fast-track imposition of neo-liberal economic policies by a cabinet led by Ahmed Nazif, the then prime minister who relentlessly implemented the demands of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF). These measures included the privatisation of public factories, the liberalisation of markets, decreasing tariffs and import taxes and the introduction of subsidies for agri-businesses in place of those for small farmers with the aim of increasing agricultural exports.’
“This was also a surprise because the economy is in very good shape by every measure, with a low unemployment rate.
“There is a debt problem in the periphery. There has been in attitude to small countries; they are prepared to thinking about cutting debt in countries with very high debt. The Europeans can deal with the small countries, but it will be much harder to deal with larger countries if they face more serious problems. Growth forecasts for Europe are starting to be lowered. The current situation is even worse than we thought a few months ago.”
‘As for the housing shortage and increase in housing starts, Fischer said, “Things have begun to move. We’re building at a rate of over 42,000 apartments a year, but housing starts are not housing completions. We must wait for two years. We’re still at around 34,000 housing completions a year, but there is a supply response in the market, and that’s very important.” ‘
‘The protests went up a notch last night. Chants about high rents were rare. “The people demand social justice,” was the most common, followed by “Hoo ha, mi zeh ba? Medinat harevaha” (Who’s that coming? It’s the welfare state ). Socialism, today? Yes, with choked throats and emotional tones. The protest took flight last night. Forget the housing protest, it’s no longer alone. Those who feared that the protest was too narrow, too spoiled, yesterday watched it expand. Its goals are already way beyond a small rented apartment. ‘
Palestine / Israel Links
Jerusalem Post Apologizes For ‘Inappropriate’ Response To Norway Massacre
Palestine: Zionism, class and occupation
Two weeks after the attack in Norway, the country’s deputy foreign minister makes an appeal to ‘The Jerusalem Post.’
The Likud Connection: Europe’s Right-Wing Populists Find Allies in Israel
Sam Bahour: Now, the sooner Palestinians and Israelis realise that our destiny is to live together as equals, the sooner we can begin to rehabilitate our communities and build a single society whose citizens are all equal under law and equal as human beings.
Excellent analysis from Australian Palestinian Advocate, Samah Sabawi, slicing through the PA’s rhetoric and role :
‘The reality is the PA was built to be a governmental structure not a liberation movement. Its time is up. The government was supposed to be there to embrace a state. There is no state coming. Netanyahu has confirmed it, Obama has confirmed it and the maps speak for themselves.’
In terms of legitimizing discrimination and conferring discretion to the state, Israel has achieved far more than the apartheid regime could have hoped to accomplish.’
BDS victory: Veolia loses yet another contract in the UK
A timely visit to Gaza by the UN Special Committee in the lead up (again) to the release of the Palmer report, with the Committee’s full report to be presented in September. Other reports to be aired in September at the UN include the Goldstone report and UN flotilla report.: End blockade now, says UN group in rare Gaza visit
Israeli warplanes bombard Gaza City
According to the Australian, righwing union leader Paul Howes makes disgraceful remarks about Max Brenner boycott protesters
Mr Howes said the far-left protesters were “mimicking the behaviour of the Nazi thugs” and it was necessary to “nip this in the bud”.
Howes is further reported in Strewth saying in relation to the BDS protest : “Violence based on religious and ethnic hatred must be firmly opposed in our multicultural society,”
Boycotts, Nonviolence, and Palestinian-Israeli Conflict Transformation : Rabbi Lynn Gottlieb
Members of the Interfaith Peace Builders’ first African Heritage Delegation to Israel/Palestine have issued a call on African Americans to support the struggle for Palestinian rights, and have declared their support for the Palestinian-led campaign of boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS)
Poverty rife among Bedouin women denied status by Israel
“Our aim is to empower women here with basic things. Bedouin women are at the lowest level of employment in Israeli society; 90 percent of Bedouin women living in recognized villages are illiterate. In unrecognized villages, that number is more like 100 percent. If a woman has education and economic empowerment, she can take more control, make decisions, be more useful to her society and her family.”
‘When will the world understand that the deterioration of the situation of women in Gaza over the past four years is not solely attributed to the Hamas control of the Strip, but because of the Israeli siege, which tends to be left out in such discussions.’
Oslo Is Not OK
As’ad Abukhalil on the Asad regime and resistance to Israel: dilemmas of some Arab progressives
Kenyans win right to sue UK government for colonial torture
NATO’s ultimate war crime: Libya’s water supply
Another Twitter fraud uncovered: The person in question is known as Liliane Khalil, a supposed Atlanta-based journalist of Palestinian and Armenian heritage who was writing for the Bahrain Independent, a newspaper who’s site has been in maintenance for over a week now, as well as a brief stint writing for the Cairo-based news site Bikya Masr.
Don’t be silly, we’re British, we don’t do torture