Beyond July 14

Predicated on an antisemitic fallacy that Jewish people can only be safe in a Jewish state and that Jews bring antisemitism with them, Herzl’s political zionism was intrinsically bigoted. Jews should be able to be safe anywhere – there is no place for racism or bigotry of any kind within social systems which respect universal human rights and justice.

Jewish ‘security’ in Israel is mounted on two-tiered formally legislated privilege for Jews and dispossession of non-Jews, beginning with the fact that only Jews are nationals of Israel, while all are citizens.

So political zionism turns out not to be like ‘ANY nationalism’. In democracies, nationality is not determined by religion or ethnicity. Not so in Israel where more than 30 laws discriminate against non-Jews. Racist division and class envy are useful to elites, who then redirect challenges to their ruling hegemony toward chosen scapegoats. Palestinians, their supporters, and most visibly, the demonised spectre of Hamas, serve as zionist hegemony’s scapegoats.

The July 14 movement is protesting the practices of a state which imposes legal constraints circumscribing zionist elite privilege, challenging oppressive neoliberal structures directly on the issue of unequal access to housing, an issue adversely affecting a large majority, save the elite, across many divides within the imaginary Israeli borders. This movement is organic, seems to be inclusive and coopting of common cause, heading in the right direction toward equal rights for all, challenging the internal class divide. There is understandable concern that Palestinians who have located themselves within the protest movement are being used to further zionist privilege whilst the urgent, grievous lack of Palestinian rights is neglected for political expediency and a tactic of uniting the polity (not including Palestinians in the OPT) against the state.

The protest has support of 85% of the Israeli populace – if it maintains momentum, there’s potential for the racist state and its exclusivist zionist ideology to be irrevocably transformed by the process as its polity – its complete citizenry – transforms through direct action and interaction. Palestinians have erected tents to highlight their issues and spoken to demonstrations. Yet to expect uncritical solidarity for a movement which marginalises the most severe injustices perpetrated by the zionist regime as a tactical move by excluding them from the main agenda is petulant. Social justice movements worthy of the name aim for justice for all, not ‘just us’ and seek allies who are solidly grounded in human rights and social justice, not drive them away or expect them to drop their long-held principles – that is a form of colonisation, the prerogative of the Occupier.

Those who are annoyed that some folks aren’t rushing to acclaim the J14 protests unequivocally might consider the reaction in Australia if Aboriginals and their supporters were told to back a cause for affordable housing prices across Australia where specific Aboriginal housing concerns and dis-advantage were kept off the main agenda in order not to alienate wide support.

@AboriginalOz lol, the condition of participation for Aboriginal ppl is to exclude the possibility of meeting the needs of Aboriginal ppl? ummm #

UPDATE RT @Budouroddick @davidsheen Since list of demands drops all references to aiding non-Jewish groups who suffer worst from housing crisis, #j14 is now officially #jew14 #

Related Links

Kadima opportunism on the J14 movement, including annotation of early views
Essential reading: Max Ajl, “Social Origins of the Tent Protests in Israel”
Can the J14 protests help overcome zionism? ‘Palestinian-Israelis join the July 14 protests at great personal risk. They fear that by joining the movement their own national identity will be co-opted to advance a struggle that will betray them in the end’.
Olive Revolt in Palestine
Yossi Gurvitz casts out the doubters and critics … ‘Israelis have never received any education about equality.’
The sham solidarity of Israel’s Zionist left
J14 and the rift between Israeli and international activists
Arab social justice needs heard by the gov’t-what about J14?

‘The initial list of demands J14 released included two items specifically about Arab citizens – blanket recognition for unrecognized Bedouin towns and the expansion of municipal borders for Arab towns to accommodate natural growth, Dimi reported. But a separate document prepared by a different grassroots group has no special demands related to Arabs – rumor has it that these might be adopted by the Student Union, although it’s not clear. In a press conference last week, Daphni Leef – the symbolic leader of the original housing protesters – presented a short list described as the most urgent priorities, which had no such demands.’

Amira Hass: Israel must get ready for its own ‘Irene’
The September Journey part 1: Why I’m heading off
In final push, J14 to hold ‘million-person’ march
Max Blumenthal : J14 and the Calamity of Hope: a response to critics
Palestine is Still the Issue The Zionist left in theory and practice
Normalcy, hope and the Israeli tent protesters